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1 


1 


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Presented  to  the 
LIBRARY  of  the 

UNIVERSITY  OF  TORONTO 

by 

Mrs .  Andrew  Kellogg 


cfi&n/.-  M^  / 


/>, 


•  :HMb 


FRANKENSTEIN 


BIT 


MASOT   Wo  SME1LILIEY. 


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i{EET. 

»«.         jAre 

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SEEN  BY 
iERVATIC 

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5 


INTRODUCTION.  IX 

would  speak  to  the  mysterious  fears  of  our  nature,  and 
awaken  thrilling  horror  —  one  to  make  the  reader 
dread  to  look  round,  to  curdle  the  blood,  and  quicken 
the  beatings  of  the  heart.  If  I  did  not  accomplish 
these  things,  my  ghost  story  would  be  unworthy  of  its 
name.  I  thought  and  pondered  —  vainly.  I  felt  that 
blank  incapability  of  invention  which  is  the  greatest 
misery  of  authorship,  when  dull  Nothing  replies  to  our 
anxious  invocations.  Have  you  thought  of  a  story  ?  I 
was  asked  each  morning,  and  each  morning  I  was 
forced  to  reply  with  a  mortifying  negative. 

Every  thing  must  have  a  beginning,  to  speak  in  San- 
chean  phrase ;  and  that  beginning  must  be  linked  to 
something  that  went  before.  The  Hindoos  give  the 
world  an  elephant  to  support  it,  but  they  make  the  ele- 
phant stand  upon  a  tortoise.  Invention,  it  must  be 
humbly  admitted,  does  not  consist  in  creating  out  of 
void,  but  out  of  chaos ;  the  materials  must,  in  the  first 
place,  be  afforded :  it  can  give  form  to  dark,  shapeless 
substances,  but  cannot  bring  into  being  the  substance 
itself.  In  all  matters  of  discovery  and  invention,  even 
of  those  that  appertain  to  the  imagination,  we  are  con- 
tinually reminded  of  the  story  of  Columbus  and  his  egg. 
Invention  consists  in  the  capacity  of  seizing  on  the 
capabilities  of  a  subject,  and  in  the  power  of  moulding 
and  fashioning  ideas  suggested  to  it. 

Many  and  long  were  the  conversations  between  Lord 
Byron  and  Shelley,  to  which  I  was  a  devout  but  nearly 
silent  listener.  During  one  of  these,  various  philo- 
sophical doctrines  were  discussed,  and  among  others 
the  nature  of  the  principle  of  life,  and  whether  there 
was  any  probability  of  its  ever  being  discovered  and 
communicated.  They  talked  of  the  experiments  of 


X  INTRODUCTION. 

Dr.  Darwin,  (I  speak  not  of  what  the  Doctor  really  did,  or 
said  that  he  did,  but,  as  more  to  my  purpose,  of  what  was 
then  spoken  of  as  having  been  done  by  him,)  who  pre- 
served a  piece  of  vermicelli  in  a  glass  case,  till  by  some 
extraordinary  means  it  began  to  move  with  voluntary 
motion.  Not  thus,  after  all,  would  life  be  given.  Per- 
haps a  corpse  would  be  re-animated ;  galvanism  had 
given  token  of  such  things:  perhaps  the  component 
parts  of  a  creature  might  be  manufactured,  brought  to- 
gether, and  endued  with  vital  warmth. 

Night  waned  upon  this  talk,  and  even  the  witching 
hour  had  gone  by,  before  we  retired  to  rest.  When  I 
placed  my  head  on  my  pillow,  I  did  not  sleep,  nor 
could  I  be  said  to  think.  My  imagination,  unbidden, 
possessed  and  guided  me,  gifting  the  successive  images 
that  arose  in  my  mind  with  a  vividness  far  beyond  the 
usual  bounds  of  reverie.  I  saw  —  with  shut  eyes,  but 
acute  mental  vision,  —  I  saw  the  pale  student  of  un- 
hallowed arts  kneeling  beside  the  thing  he  had  put 
together.  I  saw  the  hideous  phantasm  of  a  man  stretched 
out,  and  then,  on  the  working  of  some  powerful  engine, 
show  signs  of  life,  and  stir  with  an  uneasy,  half  vital 
motion.  Frightful  must  it  be  ;  for  supremely  frightful 
would  be  the  effect  of  any  human  endeavour  to  mock 
the  stupendous  mechanism  of  the  Creator  of  the  world. 
His  success  would  terrify  the  artist;  he  would  rush 
away  from  his  odious  handywork,  horror-stricken.  He 
would  hope  that,  left  to  itself,  the  slight  spark  of  life 
which  he  had  communicated  would  fade ;  that  this 
thing,  which  had  received  such  imperfect  animation, 
would  subside  into  dead  matter;  and  he  might  sleep  in 
the  belief  that  the  silence  of  the  grave  would  quench 
for  ever  the  transient  existence  of  the  hideous  corpse 


INTRODUCTION.  XI 

which  he  had  looked  upon  as  the  cradle  of  life.  He 
sleeps ;  but  he  is  awakened ;  he  opens  his  eyes  ;  behold 
the  horrid  thing  stands  at  his  bedside,  opening  his  cur- 
tains, and  looking  on  him  with  yellow,  watery,  but 
speculative  eyes. 

I  opened  mine  in  terror.  The  idea  so  possessed  my 
mind,  that  a  thrill  of  fear  ran  through  me,  and  I  wished 
to  exchange  the  ghastly  image  of  my  fancy  for  the 
realities  around.  I  see  them  still ;  the  very  room,  the 
dark  parquet,  the  closed  shutters,  with  the  moonlight 
struggling  through,  and  the  sense  I  had  that  the  glassy 
lake  and  white  high  Alps  were  beyond.  I  could  not  so 
easily  get  rid  of  my  hideous  phantom ;  still  it  haunted 
me.  I  must  try  to  think  of  something  else.  I  recurred 
to  my  ghost  story, — my  tiresome  unlucky  ghost  story! 
O  !  if  I  could  only  contrive  one  which  would  frighten 
my  reader  as  I  myself  had  been  frightened  that  night ! 

Swift  as  light  and  as  cheering  was  the  idea  that  broke 
in  upon  me.  "  I  have  found  it  1  What  terrified  me  will 
terrify  others ;  and  I  need  only  describe  the  spectre 
which  had  haunted  my  midnight  pillow."  On  the  mor- 
row I  announced  that  I  had  thought  of  a  story.  I  began 
that  day  with  the  words,  It  was  on  a  dreary  night  of  No- 
vember, making  only  a  transcript  of  the  grim  terrors  of 
my  waking  dream. 

At  first  I  thought  but  of  a  few  pages — of  a  short  tale ; 
but  Shelley  urged  me  to  develope  the  idea  at  greater 
length.  I  certainly  did  not  owe  the  suggestion  of  one 
incident,  nor  scarcely  of  one  train  of  feeling,  to  my  hus- 
band, and  yet  but  for  his  incitement,  it  would  never  have 
taken  the  form  in  which  it  was  presented  to  the  world. 
From  this  declaration  I  must  except  the  preface.  As 
far  as  I  can  recollect,  it  was  entirely  written  by  him. 


Xll  INTRODUCTION. 

And  now,  once  again,  I  bid  my  hideous  progeny  go 
forth  and  prosper.  I  have  an  affection  for  it,  for  it  was 
the  offspring  of  happy  days,  when  death  and  grief  were 
but  words,  which  found  no  true  echo  in  my  heart.  Its 
several  pages  speak  of  many  a  walk,  many  a  drive,  and 
many  a  conversation,  when  I  was  not  alone ;  and  my  com- 
panion was  one  who,  in  this  world,  I  shall  never  see 
more.  But  this  is  for  myself ;  my  readers  have  nothing 
to  do  with  these  associations. 

1  will  add  but  one  word  as  to  the  alterations  I  have 
made.  They  are  principally  those  of  style.  I  have 
changed  no  portion  of  the  story,  nor  introduced  any 
new  ideas  or  circumstances.  I  have  mended  the  lan- 
guage where  it  was  so  bald  as  to  interfere  with  the 
interest  of  the  narrative;  and  these  changes  occur 
almost  exclusively  in  the  beginning  of  the  first  volume. 
Throughout  they  are  entirely  confined  to  such  parts  as 
are  mere  adjuncts  to  the  story,  leaving  the  core  and 
substance  of  it  untouched, 

M.  W.  S. 

London,  October  1 5.  1831. 


PREFACE. 


THE  event  on  which  this  fiction  is  founded,  has  been 
supposed,  by  Dr.  Darwin,  and  some  of  the  physiological 
writers  of  Germany,  as  not  of  impossible  occurrence.  I 
shall  not  be  supposed  as  according  the  remotest  degree  of 
serious  faith  to  such  an  imagination ;  yet,  in  assuming  it 
as  the  basis  of  a  work  of  fancy,  I  have  not  considered  my- 
self as  merely  weaving  a  series  of  supernatural  terrors.  The 
event  on  which  the  interest  of  the  story  depends  is  exempt 
from  the  disadvantages  of  a  mere  tale  of  spectres  or  en- 
chantment. It  was  recommended  by  the  novelty  of  the 
situations  which  it  developes ;  and,  however  impossible  as 
a  physical  fact,  affords  a  point  of  view  to  the  imagination 
for  the  delineating  of  human  passions  more  comprehensive 
and  commanding  than  any  which  the  ordinary  relations  of 
existing  events  can  yield. 

I  have  thus  endeavoured  to  preserve  the  truth  of  the 
elementary  principles  of  human  nature,  while  I  have  not 
scrupled  to  innovate  upon  their  combinations.  The  Iliad,, 
the  tragic  poetry  of  Greece,  —  Shakspeare,  in  the  Tempest, 
and  Midsummer  Night's  Dream,  —  and  most  especially 
Milton,  in  Paradise  Lost,  conform  to  this  rule ;  and  the 
most  humble  novelist,  who  seeks  to  confer  or  receive  amuse- 
ment from  his  labours,  may,  without  presumption,  apply  to 
prose  fiction  a  licence,  or  rather  a  rule,  from  the  adoption 
of  which  so  many  exquisite  combinations  of  human  feeling 
have  resulted  in  the  highest  specimens  of  poetry. 

The  circumstance  on  which  my  story  rests  was  suggested 
in  casual  conversation.  It  was  commenced  partly  as  a 
source  of  amusement,  and  partly  as  an  expedient  for  exer- 
cising any  untried  resources  of  mind.  Other  motives  were 


Z  PBEFACHSJ. 

mingled  with  these,  as  the  work  proceeded.  I  am  by  no 
means  indifferent  to  the  manner  in  which  whatever  moral 
tendencies  exist  in  the  sentiments  or  characters  it  contains 
shall  affect  the  reader  ;  yet  my  chief  concern  in  this  respect 
has  been  limited  to  the  avoiding  the  enervating  effects  of 
the  novels  of  the  present  day,  and  to  the  exhibition  of  the 
amiableness  of  domestic  affection,  and  the  excellence  of 
universal  virtue.  The  opinions  which  naturally  spring 
from  the  character  and  situation  of  the  hero  are  by  no 
means  to  be  conceived  as  existing  always  in  my  own  con- 
viction j  nor  is  any  inference  justly  to  be  drawn  from  the 
following  pages  as  prejudicing  any  philosophical  doctrine  of 
whatever  kind. 

It  is  a  subject  also  of  additional  interest  to  the  author, 
that  this  story  was  begun  in  the  majestic  region  where  the 
scene  is  principally  laid,  and  in  society  which  cannot  cease 
to  be  regretted.  I  passed  the  summer  of  1816  in  the  en- 
virons of  Geneva.  The  season  was  cold  and  rainy,  and  in 
the  evenings  we  crowded  around  a  blazing  wood  fire,  and 
occasionally  amused  ourselves  with  some  German  stories  of 
ghosts,  which  happened  to  fall  into  our  hands.  These  tales 
excited  in  us  a  playful  desire  of  imitation.  Two  other 
friends  (a  tale  from  the  pen  of  one  of  whom  would  be  far 
more  acceptable  to  the  public  than  any  thing  I  can  ever 
hope  to  produce)  and  myself  agreed  to  write  each  a  story, 
founded  on  some  supernatural  occurrence. 

The  weather,  however,  suddenly  became  serene ;  and  my 
two  friends  left  me  on  a  journey  among  the  Alps,  and  lost, 
in  the  magnificent  scenes  which  they  present,  all  memory 
of  their  ghostly  visions.  The  following  tale  is  the  only  one 
which  has  been  completed. 

Marlow,  September,  1817. 


FRANKENSTEIN ; 


OR, 


THE  MODERN  PROMETHEUS. 


LETTER  I. 

To  Mrs.  Saville,  England. 

St.  Petersburgh,  Dec.  llth,  17—. 

You  will  rejoice  to  hear  that  no  disaster  has  accompanied 
the  commencement  of  an  enterprise  which  you  have  re- 
garded with  such  evil  forebodings.  I  arrived  here  yesterday; 
and  my  first  task  is  to  assure  my  dear  sister  of  my  welfare, 
and  increasing  confidence  in  the  success  of  my  undertaking. 
I  am  already  far  north  of  London  j  and  as  I  walk  in  the 
streets  of  Petersburgh,  I  feel  a  cold  northern  breeze  play 
upon  my  cheeks,  which  braces  my  nerves,  and  fills  me 
with  delight.  Do  you  understand  this  feeling  ?  This  breeze, 
which  has  travelled  from  the  regions  towards  which  I  am 
advancing,  gives  me  a  foretaste  of  those  icy  climes.  In- 
spirited by  this  wind  of  promise,  my  day  dreams  become 
more  fervent  and  vivid.  I  try  in  vain  to  be  persuaded  that 
the  pole  is  the  seat  of  frost  and  desolation ;  it  ever  presents 
itself  to  my  imagination  as  the  region  of  beauty  and  de- 
light. There,  Margaret,  the  sun  is  for  ever  visible;  its 
broad  disk  just  skirting  the  horizon,  and  diffusing  a  per- 
petual splendour.  There — for  with  your  leave,  my  sister, 
I  will  put  some  trust  in  preceding  navigators  —  there  snow 
and  frost  are  banished ;  and,  sailing  over  a  calm  sea,  we 
may  be  wafted  to  a  land  surpassing  in  wonders  and  in 
beauty  every  region  hitherto  discovered  on  the  habitable 
globe.  Its  productions  and  features  may  be  without  ex- 
B  2 


4  FRANKENSTEIN  ;    OB, 

ample,  as  the  phenomena  of  the  heavenly  bodies  undoubtedly 
are  in  those  undiscovered  solitudes.  What  may  not  be 
expected  in  a  country  of  eternal  light  ?  I  may  there  dis- 
cover the  wondrous  power  which  attracts  the  needle  ;  and 
may  regulate  a  thousand  celestial  observations,  that  require 
only  this  voyage  to  render  their  seeming  eccentricities  con- 
sistent for  ever.  I  shall  satiate  my  ardent  curiosity  with 
the  sight  of  a  part  of  the  world  never  before  visited,  and 
may  tread  a  land  never  before  imprinted  by  the  foot  of 
man.  These  are  my  enticements,  and  they  are  sufficient 
to  conquer  all  fear  of  danger  or  death,  and  to  induce  me 
to  commence  this  laborious  voyage  with  the  joy  a  child 
feels  when  he  embarks  in  a  little  boat,,  with  his  holiday  mates, 
on  an  expedition  of  discovery  up  his  native  river.  But, 
supposing  all  these  conjectures  to  be  false,  you  cannot  con- 
test the  inestimable  benefit  which  I  shall  confer  on  all 
mankind  to  the  last  generation,  by  discovering  a  passage 
near  the  pole  to  those  countries,  to  reach  which  at  present 
so  many  months  are  requisite ;  or  by  ascertaining  the  secret 
of  the  magnet,  which,  if  at  all  possible,  can  only  be  effected 
by  an  undertaking  such  as  mine. 

These  reflections  have  dispelled  the  agitation  with  which 
I  began  my  letter,  and  I  feel  my  heart  glow  with  an  en- 
thusiasm which  elevates  me  to  heaven ;  for  nothing  con- 
tributes so  much  to  tranquillise  the  mind  as  a  steady  purpose, 
—  a  point  on  which  the  soul  may  fix  its  intellectual  eye. 
This  expedition  has  been  the  favourite  dream  of  my  early 
years.  I  have  read  with  ardour  the  accounts  of  the  various 
voyages  which  have  been  made  in  the  prospect  of  arriving 
at  the  North  Pacific  Ocean  through  the  seas  which  surround 
the  pole.  You  may  remember,  that  a  history  of  all  the 
voyages  made  for  purposes  of  discovery  composed  the  whole 
of  our  good  uncle  Thomas's  library.  My  education  was 
neglected,  yet  I  was  passionately  fond  of  reading.  These 
volumes  were  my  study  day  and  night,  and  my  familiarity 
with  them  increased  that  regret  which  I  had  felt,  as  a  child, 
on  learning  that  my  father's  dying  injunction  had  forbidden 
my  uncle  to  allow  me  to  embark  in  a  seafaring  life. 

These  visions  faded  when  I  perused,  for  the  first  time, 
those  poets  whose  effusions  entranced  my  soul,  and  lifted 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  5 

it  to  heaven.  I  also  became  a  poet,  and  for  one  year  lived 
in  a  Paradise  of  my  own  creation ;  1  imagined  that  I  also 
might  obtain  a  niche  in  the  temple  where  the  names  of 
Homer  and  Shakspeare  are  consecrated.  You  are  well 
acquainted  with  my  failure,  and  how  heavily  I  bore  the 
disappointment.  But  just  at  that  time  I  inherited  the  for- 
tune of  my  cousin,  and  my  thoughts  were  turned  into  the 
channel  of  their  earlier  bent. 

Six  years  have  passed  since  I  resolved  on  my  present 
undertaking.  I  can,  even  now,  remember  the  hour  from 
which  I  dedicated  myself  to  this  great  enterprise.  I  com- 
menced by  inuring  my  body  to  hardship.  I  accompanied 
the  whale-fishers  on  several  expeditions  to  the  North  Sea  ; 
I  voluntarily  endured  cold,  famine,  thirst,  and  want  of 
sleep ;  I  often  worked  harder  than  the  common  sailors  during 
the  day,  and  devoted  my  nights  to  the  study  of  mathematics,, 
the  theory  of  medicine,  and  those  branches  of  physical 
science  from  which  a  naval  adventurer  might  derive  the 
greatest  practical  advantage.  Twice  I  actually  hired  my- 
self as  an  under-mate  in  a  Greenland  whaler,  and  acquitted 
myself  to  admiration.  I  must  own  I  felt  a  little  proud, 
when  my  captain  offered  me  the  second  dignity  in  the 
vessel,  and  entreated  me  to  remain  with  the  greatest  ear- 
nestness ;  so  valuable  did  he  consider  my  services. 

And  now,  dear  Margaret,  do  I  not  deserve  to  accomplish 
some  great  purpose  ?  My  life  might  have  been  passed  in 
ease  and  luxury ;  but  I  preferred  glory  to  every  enticement 
that  wealth  placed  in  my  path.  Oh,  that  some  encouraging 
voice  would  answer  in  the  affirmative !  My  courage  and 
my  resolution  is  firm ;  but  my  hopes  fluctuate,  and  my 
spirits  are  often  depressed.  I  am  about  to  proceed  on  a 
long  and  difficult  voyage,  the  emergencies  of  which  will 
demand  all  my  fortitude :  I  am  required  not  only  to  raise 
the  spirits  of  others,  but  sometimes  to  sustain  my  own, 
when  theirs  are  failing. 

This  is  the  most  favourable  period  for  travelling  in 
Russia.  They  fly  quickly  over  the  snow  in  their  sledges ; 
the  motion  is  pleasant,  and,  in  my  opinion,  far  more  agree- 
able than  that  of  an  English  stage-coach.  The  cold  is  not 
excessive,  if  you  are  wrapped  in  furs, — a  dress  which  I  have 

B    3 


6  FRANKENSTEIN  j    OR, 

already  adopted ;  for  there  is  a  great  difference  between 
walking  the  deck  and  remaining  seated  motionless  for  hours, 
when  no  exercise  prevents  the  blood  from  actually  freezing 
in  your  veins.  I  have  no  ambition  to  lose  my  life  on  the 
post-road  between  St.  Petersburgh  and  Archangel. 

I  shall  depart  for  the  latter  town  in  a  fortnight  or  three 
weeks ;  and  my  intention  is  to  hire  a  ship  there,  which  can 
easily  be  done  by  paying  the  insurance  for  the  owner,  and 
to  engage  as  many  sailors  as  I  think  necessary  among 
those  who  are  accustomed  to  the  whale-fishing.  I  do  not 
intend  to  sail  until  the  month  of  June ;  and  when  shall  I 
return  ?  Ah,  dear  sister,  how  can  I  answer  this  question  ? 
If  I  succeed,  many,  many  months,  perhaps  years,  will  pass 
before  you  and  I  may  meet.  If  I  fail,  you  will  see  me 
again  soon,  or  never. 

Farewell,  my  dear,  excellent  Margaret.     Heaven  shower 
down  blessings  on  you,  and  save  me,  that  I  may  again  and 
again  testify  my  gratitude  for  all  your  love  and  kindness. 
Your  affectionate  brother, 

R.  WALTON. 


LETTER  II. 
To  Mrs.  Saville,  England. 

Archangel,  28th  March,  17 — 

How  slowly  the  time  passes  here,  encompassed  as  I  am 
by  frost  and  snow !  yet  a  second  step  is  taken  towards  my 
enterprise.  I  have  hired  a  vessel,  and  am  occupied  in  col- 
lecting my  sailors ;  those  whom  I  have  already  engaged, 
appear  to  be  men  on  whom  I  can  depend,  and  are  certainly 
possessed  of  dauntless  courage. 

But  I  have  one  want  which  I  have  never  yet  been  able 
to  satisfy ;  and  the  absence  of  the  object  of  which  I  now 
feel  as  a  most  severe  evil.  I  have  no  friend,  Margaret : 
when  I  am  glowing  with  the  enthusiasm  of  success,  there 
will  be  none  to  participate  my  joy ;  if  I  am  assailed  by 
disappointment,  no  one  will  endeavour  to  sustain  me  in 
dejection.  I  shall  commit  my  thoughts  to  paper,  it  is 
true  j  but  that  is  a  poor  medium  for  the  communication  of 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  7 

feeling.  I  desire  the  company  of  a  man  who  could  sym- 
pathise with  me ;  whose  eyes  would  reply  to  mine.  You 
may  deem  me  romantic,  my  dear  sister,  but  I  bitterly  feel 
the  want  of  a  friend.  I  have  no  one  near  me,  gentle  yet 
courageous,  possessed  of  a  cultivated  as  well  as  of  a  capacious 
mind,  whose  tastes  are  like  my  own,  to  approve  or  amend 
my  plans.  How  would  such  a  friend  repair  the  faults  of 
your  poor  brother !  I  am  too  ardent  in  execution,  and  too 
impatient  of  difficulties.  But  it  is  a  still  greater  evil  to  me 
that  I  am  self-educated :  for  the  first  fourteen  years  of  my 
life  I  ran  wild  on  a  common,  and  read  nothing  but  our 
uncle  Thomas's  books  of  voyages.  At  that  age  I  became 
acquainted  with  the  celebrated  poets  of  our  own  country  ; 
but  it  was  only  when  it  had  ceased  to  be  in  my  power  to 
derive  its  most  important  benefits  from  such  a  conviction, 
that  I  perceived  the  necessity  of  becoming  acquainted  with 
more  languages  than  that  of  my  native  country.  Now  I 
am  twenty-eight,  and  am  in  reality  more  illiterate  than 
many  schoolboys  of  fifteen.  It  is  true  that  I  have  thought 
more,  and  that  my  day  dreams  are  more  extended  and 
magnificent;  but  they  want  (as  the  painters  call  it)  keeping  ; 
and  I  greatly  need  a  friend  who  would  have  sense  enough 
not  to  despise  me  as  romantic,  and  affection  enough  for  me 
to  endeavour  to  regulate  my  mind. 

Well,  these  are  useless  complaints ;  I  shall  certainly  find 
no  friend  on  the  wide  ocean,  nor  even  here  in  Archangel, 
among  merchants  and  seamen.  Yet  some  feelings,  un- 
allied  to  the  dross  of  human  nature,  beat  even  in  these 
rugged  bosoms.  My  lieutenant,  for  instance,  is  a  man  of 
wonderful  courage  and  enterprise ;  he  is  madly  desirous  of 
glory  :  or  rather,  to  word  my  phrase  more  characteristically, 
of  advancement  in  his  profession.  He  is  an  Englishman, 
and  in  the  midst  of  national  and  professional  prejudices, 
unsoftened  by  cultivation,  retains  some  of  the  noblest  en- 
dowments of  humanity.  I  first  became  acquainted  with 
him  on  board  a  whale  vessel :  finding  that  he  was  unem- 
ployed in  this  city,  I  easily  engaged  him  to  assist  in  my 
enterprise. 

The  master  is  a  person  of  an  excellent  disposition,  and 
is  remarkable  in  the  ship  for  his  gentleness  and  the  mild- 
B  4 


8  FRANKENSTEIN  ;    OH, 

ness  of  his  discipline.  This  circumstance,  added  to  his 
well  known  integrity  and  dauntless  courage,  made  me  very 
desirous  to  engage  him.  A  youth  passed  in  solitude,  my 
best  years  spent  under  your  gentle  and  feminine  fosterage, 
has  so  refined  the  groundwork  of  my  character,  that  I  can- 
not overcome  an  intense  distaste  to  the  usual  brutality  ex- 
ercised on  board  ship :  I  have  never  believed  it  to  be 
necessary;  and  when  I  heard  of  a  mariner  equally  noted  for 
his  kindliness  of  heart,  and  the  respect  and  obedience  paid 
to  him  by  his  crew,  I  felt  myself  peculiarly  fortunate  in 
being  able  to  secure  his  services.  I  heard  of  him  first  in 
rather  a  romantic  manner,  from  a  lady  who  owes  to  him 
the  happiness  of  her  life.  This,  briefly,  is  his  story. 
Some  years  ago,  he  loved  a  young  Russian  lady,  of  mo- 
derate fortune ;  and  having  amassed  a  considerable  sum  in 
prize-money,  the  father  of  the  girl  consented  to  the  match. 
He  saw  his  mistress  once  before  the  destined  ceremony ; 
but  she  was  bathed  in  tears,  and,  throwing  herself  at  his 
feet,  entreated  him  to  spare  her,  confessing  at  the  same  time 
that  she  loved  another,  but  that  he  was  poor,  and  that  her 
father  would  never  consent  to  the  union.  My  generous 
friend  reassured  the  suppliant,  and  on  being  informed  of 
the  name  of  her  lover,  instantly  abandoned  his  pursuit. 
He  had  already  bought  a  farm  with  his  money,  on  which 
he  had  designed  to  pass  the  remainder  of  his  life ;  but  he 
bestowed  the  whole  on  his  rival,  together  with  the  remains 
of  his  prize-money  to  purchase  stock,  and  then  himself  so- 
licited the  young  woman's  father  to  consent  to  her  marriage 
with  her  lover.  But  the  old  man  decidedly  refused,  think- 
ing himself  bound  in  honour  to  my  friend ;  who,  when  he 
found  the  father  inexorable,  quitted  his  country,  nor  re- 
turned until  he  heard  that  his  former  mistress  was  married 
according  to  her  inclinations.  "  What  a  noble  fellow  ! " 
you  will  exclaim.  He  is  so ;  but  then  he  is  wholly  un- 
educated :  he  is  as  silent  as  a  Turk,  and  a  kind  of  ignorant 
carelessness  attends  him,  which,  while  it  renders  his  con- 
duct the  more  astonishing,  detracts  from  the  interest  and 
sympathy  which  otherwise  he  would  command. 

Yet  do  not  suppose,  because   I    complain    a  little,   or 
because  I  can  conceive  a  consolation  for  my  toils  which  I 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  9 

may  never  know,  that  I  am  wavering  in  my  resolutions. 
Those  are  as  fixed  as  fate ;  and  my  voyage  is  only  now 
delayed  until  the  weather  shall  permit  my  embarkation. 
The  winter  has  been  dreadfully  severe ;  but  the  spring 
promises  well,  and  it  is  considered  as  a  remarkably  early 
season  j  so  that  perhaps  I  may  sail  sooner  than  I  expected. 
I  shall  do  nothing  rashly :  you  know  me  sufficiently  to 
confide  in  my  prudence  and  considerateness,  whenever  the 
safety  of  others  is  committed  to  my  care. 

I  cannot  describe  to  you  my  sensations  on  the  near 
prospect  of  my  undertaking.  It  is  impossible  to  communi- 
cate to  you  a  conception  of  the  trembling  sensation,  half 
pleasurable  and  half  fearful,  with  which  I  am  preparing  to 
depart.  I  am  going  to  unexplored  regions,  to  ee  the  land  of 
mist  and  snow  j"  but  I  shall  kill  no  albatross,  therefore  do 
not  be  alarmed  for  my  safety,  or  if  I  should  come  back  to 
you  as  worn  and  woful  as  the  fc Ancient  Mariner  ?  "  You 
wih1  smile  at  my  allusion ;  but  I  will  disclose  a  secret.  I 
have  often  attributed  my  attachment  to,  my  passionate 
enthusiasm  for,  the  dangerous  mysteries  of  ocean,  to  that 
production  of  the  most  imaginative  of  modern  poets. 
There  is  something  at  work  in  my  soul,  which  I  do  not 
understand.  I  am  practically  industrious — pains-taking; 
— a  workman  to  execute  with  perseverance  and  labour:  — — 
but  besides  this,  there  is  a  love  for  the  marvellous,  a 
belief  in  the  marvellous,  intertwined  in  all  my  projects,  which 
hurries  me  out  of  the  common  pathways  of  men,  even  to 
the  wild  sea  and  unvisited  regions  I  am  about  to  explore. 

But  to  return  to  dearer  considerations.  Shall  I  meet 
you  again,  after  having  traversed  immense  seas,  and 
returned  by  the  most  southern  cape  of  Africa  or  America  ? 
I  dare  not  expect  such  success,  yet  I  cannot  bear  to  look 
on  the  reverse  of  the  picture.  Continue  for  the  pre- 
sent to  write  to  me  by  every  opportunity  :  I  may  re- 
ceive your  letters  on  some  occasions  when  I  need  them 
most  to  support  my  spirits.  I  love  you  very  tenderly. 
Remember  me  with  affection,  should  you  never  hear  from 
me  again. 

Your  affectionate  brother, 

ROBERT  WALTON. 


10  FRANKENSTEIN  j    OB, 

LETTER  III. 
To  Mrs.  Saville,  England. 

MY  DEAR  SISTER,  July  7th'  17— • 

I  WRITE  a  few  lines  in  haste,  to  say  that  I  am  safe,  and 
well  advanced  on  my  voyage.  This  letter  will  reach  Eng- 
land by  a  merchantman  now  on  its  homeward  voyage  from 
Archangel ;  more  fortunate  than  I,  who  may  not  see  my 
native  land,  perhaps,  for  many  years.  I  am,  however,  in 
good  spirits :  my  men  are  bold,  and  apparently  firm  of  pur- 
pose ;  nor  do  the  floating  sheets  of  ice  that  continually  pass 
us,  indicating  the  dangers  of  the  region  towards  which  we 
are  advancing,  appear  to  dismay  them.  We  have  already 
reached  a  very  high  latitude ;  but  it  is  the  height  of  sum- 
mer, and  although  not  so  warm  as  in  England,  the  southern 
gales,  which  blow  us  speedily  towards  those  shores  which 
I  so  ardently  desire  to  attain,  breathe  a  degree  of  renovat- 
ing warmth  which  I  had  not  expected. 

No  incidents  have  hitherto  befallen  us  that  would  make 
a  figure  in  a  letter.  One  or  two  stiff  gales,  and  the  spring- 
ing of  a  leak,  are  accidents  which  experienced  navigators 
scarcely  remember  to  record ;  and  I  shall  be  well  content 
if  nothing  worse  happen  to  us  during  our  voyage. 

Adieu,  my  dear  Margaret.  Be  assured,  that  for  my 
own  sake,  as  well  as  yours,  I  will  not  rashly  encounter 
danger.  I  will  be  cool,  persevering,  and  prudent. 

But  success  shall  crown  my  endeavours.  Wherefore 
not  ?  Thus  far  I  have  gone,  tracing  a  secure  way  over  the 
pathless  seas :  the  very  stars  themselves  being  witnesses  and 
testimonies  of  my  triumph.  Why  not  still  proceed  over 
the  untamed  yet  obedient  element?  What  can  stop  the 
determined  heart  and  resolved  will  of  man  ? 

My  swelling  heart  involuntarily  pours  itself  out  thus. 
But  I  must  finish.  Heaven  bless  my  beloved  sister  ! 

R.  W. 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  11 

LETTER  IV. 

To  Mrs,  Savitte,  England. 

August  5th,  17 — . 

So  strange  an  accident  has  happened  to  us,  that  I  cannot 
forhear  recording  it,  although  it  is  very  probable  that  you 
will  see  me  before  these  papers  can  come  into  your  pos- 
session. 

Last  Monday  (July  3 1st),,  we  were  nearly  surrounded 
by  ice,  which  closed  in  the  ship  on  all  sides,  scarcely  leav- 
ing her  the  sea-room  in  which  she  floated.  Our  situation 
was  somewhat  dangerous,  especially  as  we  were  compassed 
round  by  a  very  thick  fog.  We  accordingly  lay  to,  hoping 
that  some  change  would  take  place  in  the  atmosphere  and 
weather. 

About  two  o'clock  the  mist  cleared  away,  and  we  beheld, 
stretched  out  in  every  direction,  vast  and  irregular  plains 
of  ice,  which  seemed  to  have  no  end.  Some  of  my  com- 
rades groaned,  and  my  own  mind  began  to  grow  watchful 
with  anxious  thoughts,  when  a  strange  sight  suddenly 
attracted  our  attention,  and  diverted  our  solicitude  from 
our  own  situation.  We  perceived  a  low  carriage,  fixed  on 
a  sledge  and  drawn  by  dogs,  pass  on  towards  the  north,  at 
the  distance  of  half  a  mile  :  a  being  which  had  the  shape 
of  a  man,  but  apparently  of  gigantic  stature,  sat  in  the 
sledge,  and  guided  the  dogs.  We  watched  the  rapid  pro- 
gress of  the  traveller  with  our  telescopes,  until  he  was  lost 
among  the  distant  inequalities  of  the  ice. 

This  appearance  excited  our  unqualified  wonder.  We 
were,  as  we  believed,  many  hundred  miles  from  any  land ; 
but  this  apparition  seemed  to  denote  that  it  was  not,  in 
reality,  so  distant  as  we  had  supposed.  Shut  in,  however, 
by  ice,  it  was  impossible  to  follow  his  track,  which  we  had 
observed  with  the  greatest  attention. 

About  two  hours  after  this  occurrence,  we  heard  the 
ground  sea  ;  and  before  night  the  ice  broke,  and  freed  our 
ship.  We,  however,  lay  to  until  the  morning,  fearing  to 


12  FRANKENSTEIN;  on, 

encounter  in  the  dark  those  large  loose  masses  which  float 
about  after  the  breaking  up  of  the  ice.  I  profited  of  this 
time  to  rest  for  a  few  hours. 

In  the  morning,  however,  as  soon  as  it  was  light,  I  went 
upon  deck,  and  found  all  the  sailors  busy  on  one  side  of 
the  vessel,  apparently  talking  to  some  one  in  the  sea.  It 
was,  in  fact,  a  sledge,  like  that  we  had  seen  before,  which 
had  drifted  towards  us  in  the  night,  on  a  large  fragment  of 
ice.  Only  one  dog  remained  alive  ;  but  there  was  a  human 
being  within  it,  whom  the  sailors  were  persuading  to  enter 
the  vessel.  He  was  not,  as  the  other  traveller  seemed  to 
be,  a  savage  inhabitant  of  some  undiscovered  island,  but  an 
European.  When  I  appeared  on  deck,  the  master  said, 
"  Here  is  our  captain,  and  he  will  not  allow  you  to  perish 
on  the  open  sea." 

On  perceiving  me,  the  stranger  addressed  me  in  English, 
although  with  a  foreign  accent.  "  Before  I  come  on  board 
your  vessel,"  said  he,  "  will  you  have  the  kindness  to 
inform  me  whither  you  are  bound  ?  " 

You  may  conceive  my  astonishment  on  hearing  such  a 
question  addressed  to  me  from  a  man  on  the  brink  of  de- 
struction, and  to  whom  I  should  have  supposed  that  my 
vessel  would  have  been  a  resource  which  he  would  not  have 
exchanged  for  the  most  precious  wealth  the  earth  can 
afford.  I  replied,  however,  that  we  were  on  a  voyage  of 
discovery  towards  the  northern  pole. 

Upon  hearing  this  he  appeared  satisfied,  and  consented 
to  come  on  board.  Good  God  !  Margaret,  if  you  had  seen 
the  man  who  thus  capitulated  for  his  safety,  your  surprise 
would  have  been  boundless.  His  limbs  were  nearly  frozen, 
and  his  body  dreadfully  emaciated  by  fatigue  and  suffering. 
I  never  saw  a  man  in  so  wretched  a  condition.  We  at- 
tempted to  carry  him  into  the  cabin  ;  but  as  soon  as  he  had 
quitted  the  fresh  air,  he  fainted.  We  accordingly  brought 
him  back  to  the  deck,  and  restored  him  to  animation  by 
rubbing  him  with  brandy,  and  forcing  him  to  swallow  a 
small  quantity.  As  soon  as  he  showed  signs  of  life  we 
wrapped  him  up  in  blankets,  and  placed  him  near  the  chim- 
ney of  the  kitchen  stove.  By  slow  degrees  he  recovered, 
and  ate  a  little  soup,  which  restored  him  wonderfully. 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  13 

Two  days  passed  in  this  manner  before  he  was  able  to 
speak  ;  and  I  often  feared  that  his  sufferings  had  deprived 
him  of  understanding.  When  he  had  in  some  measure 
recovered,  I  removed  him  to  my  own  cabin,  and  attended 
on  him  as  much  as  my  duty  would  permit.  I  never  saw 
a  more  interesting  creature :  his  eyes  have  generally  an 
expression  of  wildness,  and  even  madness ;  but  there  are 
moments  when,  if  any  one  performs  an  act  of  kindness 
towards  him,  or  does  him  any  the  most  trifling  service,  his 
•whole  countenance  is  lighted  up,  as  it  were,  with  a  beam 
of  benevolence  and  sweetness  that  I  never  saw  equalled. 
But  he  is  generally  melancholy  and  despairing ;  and  some- 
times he  gnashes  his  teeth,  as  if  impatient  of  the  weight  of 
woes  that  oppresses  him. 

When  my  guest  was  a  little  recovered,  I  had  great 
trouble  to  keep  off  the  men,  who  wished  to  ask  him  a 
thousand  questions ;  but  I  would  not  allow  him  to  be  tor- 
mented by  their  idle  curiosity,  in  a  state  of  body  and  mind 
whose  restoration  evidently  depended  upon  entire  repose. 
Once,  however,  the  lieutenant  asked,  Why  he  had  come  so 
far  upon  the  ice  in  so  strange  a  vehicle  ? 

His  countenance  instantly  assumed  an  aspect  of  the 
deepest  gloom;  and  he  replied,  "To  seek  one  who  fled 
from  me." 

"  And  did  the  man  whom  you  pursued  travel  in  the  same 
fashion  ?  " 

«  Yes." 

<(  Then  I  fancy  we  have  seen  him ;  for  the  day  before 
we  picked  you  up,  we  saw  some  dogs  drawing  a  sledge, 
with  a  man  in  it,  across  the  ice." 

This  aroused  the  stranger's  attention;  and  he  asked  a 
multitude  of  questions  concerning  the  route  which  the  dae- 
mon, as  he  called  him,  had  pursued.  Soon  after,  when  he 
was  alone  with  me,  he  said, — "  I  have,  doubtless,  excited 
your  curiosity,  as  well  as  that  of  these  good  people ;  but 
you  are  too  considerate  to  make  enquiries." 

"  Certainly  ;  it  would  indeed  be  very  impertinent  and 
inhuman  in  me  to  trouble  you  with  any  inquisitiveness  of 
mine." 


14  FRANKENSTEIN;   OR, 

ft  And  yet  you  rescued  me  from  a  strange  and  perilous 
situation  ;  you  have  benevolently  restored  me  to  life." 

Soon  after  this  he  enquired  if  I  thought  that  the  breaking 
up  of  the  ice  had  destroyed  the  other  sledge  ?  I  replied,  that 
I  could  not  answer  with  any  degree  of  certainty ;  for  the 
ice  had  not  broken  until  near  midnight,  and  the  traveller 
might  have  arrived  at  a  place  of  safety  before  that  time ; 
but  of  this  I  could  not  judge. 

From  this  time  a  new  spirit  of  life  animated  the  decay- 
ing frame  of  the  stranger.  He  manifested  the  greatest 
eagerness  to  be  upon  deck,  to  watch  for  the  sledge  which 
had  before  appeared ;  but  I  have  persuaded  him  to  remain 
in  the  cabin,  for  he  is  far  too  weak  to  sustain  the  rawness 
of  the  atmosphere.  I  have  promised  that  some  one  should 
watch  for  him,  and  give  him  instant  notice  if  any  new  ob- 
ject should  appear  in  sight. 

Such  is  my  journal  of  what  relates  to  this  strange  occur- 
rence up  to  the  present  day.  The  stranger  has  gradually 
improved  in  health,  but  is  very  silent,  and  appears  uneasy 
when  any  one  except  myself  enters  his  cabin.  Yet  his 
manners  are  so  conciliating  and  gentle,  that  the  sailors  are 
all  interested  in  him,  although  they  have  had  very  little 
communication  with  him.  For  my  own  part,  I  begin  to 
love  him  as  a  brother ;  and  his  constant  and  deep  grief  fills 
me  with  sympathy  and  compassion.  He  must  have  been 
a  noble  creature  in  his  better  days,  being  even  now  in 
wreck  so  attractive  and  amiable. 

I  said  in  one  of  my  letters,  my  dear  Margaret,  that  I 
should  find  no  friend  on  the  wide  ocean ;  yet  I  have  found 
a  man  who,  before  his  spirit  had  been  broken  by  misery, 
I  should  have  been  happy  to  have  possessed  as  the  brother 
of  my  heart. 

I  shall  continue  my  journal  concerning  the  stranger  at 
intervals,  should  I  have  any  fresh  incidents  to  record. 

August  13th,  17 — . 

My  affection  for  my  guest  increases  every  day.  He  ex- 
cites at  once  my  admiration  and  my  pity  to  an  astonishing 
degree.  How  can  I  see  so  noble  a  creature  destroyed  by 
misery,  without  feeling  the  most  poignant  grief?  He  is  so 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  15 

gentle,  yet  so  wise ;  his  mind  is  so  cultivated  ;  and  when  he 
speaks,  although  his  words  are  culled  with  the  choicest  art, 
yet  they  flow  with  rapidity  and  unparalleled  eloquence. 

He  is  now  much  recovered  from  his  illness,  and  is  con- 
tinually on  the  deck,  apparently  watching  for  the  sledge 
that  preceded  his  own.  Yet,  although  unhappy,  he  is  not 
so  utterly  occupied  by  his  own  misery,  but  that  he  interests 
himself  deeply  in  the  projects  of  others.  He  has  frequently 
conversed  with  me  on  mine,  which  I  have  communicated 
to  him  without  disguise.  He  entered  attentively  into  all 
my  arguments  in  favour  of  my  eventual  success,  and  into 
every  minute  detail  of  the  measures  I  had  taken  to  secure 
it.  I  was  easily  led  by  the  sympathy  which  he  evinced,  to 
use  the  language  of  my  heart;  to  give  utterance  to  the 
burning  ardour  of  my  soul ;  and  to  say,  with  all  the  fer- 
vour that  warmed  me,  how  gladly  I  would  sacrifice  my  for- 
tune, my  existence,  my  every  hope,  to  the  furtherance  of  my 
enterprise.  One  man's  life  or  death  were  but  a  small  price 
to  pay  for  the  acquirement  of  the  knowledge  which  I 
sought;  for  the  dominion  I  should  acquire  and  transmit 
over  the  elemental  foes  of  our  race.  As  I  spoke,  a  dark 
gloom  spread  over  my  listener's  countenance.  At  first  I 
perceived  that  he  tried  to  suppress  his  emotion ;  he  placed 
his  hands  before  his  eyes  ;  and  my  voice  quivered  and 
failed  me,  as  I  beheld  tears  trickle  fast  from  between  his 
fingers, — a  groan  burst  from  his  heaving  breast.  I  paused  ; 
— at  length  he  spoke,  in  broken  accents : —  "  Unhappy  man ! 
Do  you  share  my  madness  ?  Have  you  drank  also  of  the 
intoxicating  draught?  Hear  me,  —  let  me  reveal  my  tale, 
and  you  will  dash  the  cup  from  your  lips  ! " 

Such  words,  you  may  imagine,  strongly  excited  my  cu- 
riosity; but  the  paroxysm  of  grief  that  had  seized  the 
stranger  overcame  his  weakened  powers,  and  many  hours  of 
repose  and  tranquil  conversation  were  necessary  to  restore 
his  composure. 

Having  conquered  the  violence  of  his  feelings,  he  appeared 
to  despise  himself  for  being  the  slave  of  passion  ;  and 
quelling  the  dark  tyranny  of  despair,  he  led  me  again  to 
converse  concerning  myself  personally.  He  asked  me  the 
history  of  my  earlier  years.  The  tale  was  quickly  told : 


1  6  FRANKENSTEIN  j    OR, 

but  it  awakened  various  trains  of  reflection.  I  spoke  of  my 
desire  of  finding  a  friend — of  my  thirst  for  a  more  intimate 
sympathy  with  a  fellow  mind  than  had  ever  fallen  to  my 
lot ;  and  expressed  my  conviction  that  a  man  could  boast 
of  little  happiness,  who  did  not  enjoy  this  blessing. 

"  I  agree  with  you/'  replied  the  stranger  ;  "  we  are 
unfashioned  creatures,  but  half  made  up,  if  one  wiser,  better, 
dearer  than  ourselves — such  a  friend  ought  to  be — do  not 
lend  his  aid  to  perfectionate  our  weak  and  faulty  natures. 
I  once  had  a  friend,  the  most  noble  of  human  creatures, 
and  am  entitled,  therefore,  to  judge  respecting  friendship. 
You  have  hope,  and  the  world  before  you,  and  have  no 
cause  for  despair.  But  I  —  I  have  lost  every  thing,  and 
cannot  begin  life  anew." 

As  he  said  this,  his  countenance  became  expressive  of  a 
calm  settled  grief,  that  touched  me  to  the  heart.  But  he 
was  silent,  and  presently  retired  to  his  cabin. 

Even  broken  in  spirit  as  he  is,  no  one  can  feel  more 
deeply  than  he  does  the  beauties  of  nature.  The  starry 
sky,  the  sea,  and  every  sight  afforded  by  these  wonderful 
regions,  seems  still  to  have  the  power  of  elevating  his  soul 
from  earth.  Such  a  man  has  a  double  existence  :  he  may 
suffer  misery,  and  be  overwhelmed  by  disappointments ; 
yet,  when  he  has  retired  into  himself,  he  will  be  like  a 
celestial  spirit,  that  has  a  halo  around  him,  within  whose 
circle  no  grief  or  folly  ventures. 

Will  you  smile  at  the  enthusiasm  I  express  concerning 
this  divine  wanderer  ?  You  would  not,  if  you  saw  him. 
You  have  been  tutored  and  refined  by  books  and  retirement 
from  the  world,  and  you  are,  therefore,  somewhat  fastidious ; 
but  this  only  renders  you  the  more  fit  to  appreciate  the 
extraordinary  merits  of  this  wonderful  man.  Sometimes  I 
have  endeavoured  to  discover  what  quality  it  is  which  he 
possesses,  that  elevates  him  so  immeasurably  above  any 
other  person  I  ever  knew.  I  believe  it  to  be  an  intuitive 
discernment ;  a  quick  but  never- failing  power  of  judg- 
ment ;  a  penetration  into  the  causes  of  things,  unequalled 
for  clearness  and  precision ;  add  to  this  a  facility  of  ex- 
pression, and  a  voice  whose  varied  intonations  are  soul-sub- 
duing music. 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  17 

August  19.  17 — .     : 

Yesterday  the  stranger  said  to  me,  "  You  may  easily 
perceive,  Captain  Walton,  that  I  have  suffered  great  and 
unparalleled  misfortunes.  I  had  determined,  at  one  time, 
that  the  memory  of  these  evils  should  die  with  me  ;  but 
you  have  won  me  to  alter  my  determination.  You  seek 
for  knowledge  and  wisdom,  as  I  once  did ;  and  I  ardently 
hope  that  the  gratification  of  your  wishes  may  not  be  a 
serpent  to  sting  you,  as  mine  has  been.  I  do  not  know 
that  the  relation  of  my  disasters  will  be  useful  to  you ;  yet, 
when  I  reflect  that  you  are  pursuing  the  same  course,  ex- 
posing yourself  to  the  same  dangers  which  have  rendered 
me  what  I  am,  I  imagine  that  you  may  deduce  an  apt  moral 
from  my  tale  ;  one  that  may  direct  you  if  you  succeed  in 
your  undertaking,  and  console  you  in  case  of  failure.  Pre- 
pare to  hear  of  occurrences  which  are  usually  deemed  mar- 
vellous. Were  we  among  the  tamer  scenes  of  nature,  I 
might  fear  to  encounter  your  unbelief,  perhaps  your  ridicule; 
but  many  things  wiU  appear  possible  in  these  wild  and 
mysterious  regions,  which  would  provoke  the  laughter  of 
those  unacquainted  with  the  ever- varied  powers  of  nature : 
—  nor  can  I  doubt  but  that  my  tale  conveys  in  its  series 
internal  evidence  of  the  truth  of  the  events  of  which  it  is 
composed." 

You  may  easily  imagine  that  I  was  much  gratified  by  the 
offered  communication  ;  yet  I  could  not  endure  that  he 
should  renew  his  grief  by  a  recital  of  his  misfortunes.  I 
felt  the  greatest  eagerness  to  hear  the  promised  narrative, 
partly  from  curiosity,  and  partly  from  a  strong  desire  to 
ameliorate  his  fate,  if  it  were  in  my  power.  I  expressed 
these  feelings  in  my  answer. 

"  T  thank  you,"  he  replied,  "  for  your  sympathy,  but 
it'is  useless;  my  fate  is  nearly  fulfilled.  I  wait  but  for 
one  event,  and  then  I  shall  repose  in  peace.  I  understand 
your  feeling,"  continued  he,  perceiving  that  I  wished  to 
interrupt  him  ;  "  but  you  are  mistaken,  my  friend,  if  thus 
you  will  allow  me  to  name  you ;  nothing  can  alter  my  des- 
tiny :  listen  to  my  history,  and  you  will  perceive  how 
irrevocably  it  is  determined." 
c 


18 


FRANKENSTEIN  !    OB, 


He  then  told  me,  that  he  would  commence  his  narrative 
the  next  day  when  I  should  be  at  leisure.  This  promise 
drew  from  me  the  warmest  thanks.  I  have  resolved  every 
night,  when  I  am  not  imperatively  occupied  by  my  duties, 
to  record,  as  nearly  as  possible  in  his  own  words,  what  he 
has  related  during  the  day.  If  I  should  be  engaged,  I  will 
at  least  make  notes.  This  manuscript  will  doubtless  afford 
you  the  greatest  pleasure  :  but  to  me,  who  know  him,  and 
who  hear  it  from  his  own  lips,  with  what  interest  and 
sympathy  shall  I  read  it  in  some  future  day !  Even  now, 
as  I  commence  my  task,  his  full-toned  voice  swells  in  my 
ears ;  his  lustrous  eyes  dwell  on  me  with  all  their  melan- 
choly sweetness ;  I  see  his  thin  hand  raised  in  animation, 
while  the  lineaments  of  his  face  are  irradiated  by  the  soul 
within.  Strange  and  harrowing  must  be  his  story ;  frightful 
the  storm  which  embraced  the  gallant  vessel  on  its  course, 
and  wrecked  it  —  thus  ! 


CHAPTER  I. 

I  AM  by  birth  a  Genevese ;  and  my  family  is  one  of  the 
most  distinguished  of  that  republic.  My  ancestors  had 
been  for  many  years  counsellors  and  syndics ;  and  my  father 
had  filled  several  public  situations  with  honour  and  repu- 
tation. He  was  respected  by  all  who  knew  him,  for  his 
integrity  and  indefatigable  attention  to  public  business.  He 
passed  his  younger  days  perpetually  occupied  by  the  affairs 
of  his  country  ;  a  variety  of  circumstances  had  prevented 
his  marrying  early,  nor  was  it  until  the  decline  of  life  that 
he  became  a  husband  and  the  father  of  a  family. 

As  the  circumstances  of  his  marriage  illustrate  his  cha- 
racter, I  cannot  refrain  from  relating  them.  One  of  his 
most  intimate  friends  was  a  merchant,  who,  from  a  flou- 
rishing state,  fell,  through  numerous  mischances,  into  po- 
verty. This  man,  whose  name  was  Beaufort,  was  of  a 
proud  and  unbending  disposition,  and  could  not  bear  to 
live  in  poverty  and  oblivion  in  the  same  country  where  he 
had  formerly  been  distinguished  for  his  rank  and  magni- 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  1Q 

ficence.  Having  paid  his  debts,  therefore,  in  the  most 
honourable  manner,  he  retreated  with  his  daughter  to  the 
town  of  Lucerne,  where  he  lived  unknown  and  in  wretched- 
ness. My  father  loved  Beaufort  with  the  truest  friendship, 
and  was  deeply  grieved  by  his  retreat  in  these  unfortunate 
circumstances.  He  bitterly  deplored  the  false  pride  which 
led  his  friend  to  a  conduct  so  little  worthy  of  the  affection 
that  united  them.  He  lost  no  time  in  endeavouring  to  seek 
him  out,  with  the  hope  of  persuading  him  to  begin  the 
world  again  through  his  credit  and  assistance. 

Beaufort  had  taken  effectual  measures  to  conceal  himself; 
and  it  was  ten  months  before  my  father  discovered  his 
abode.  Overjoyed  at  this  discovery,  he  hastened  to  the 
house,  which  was  situated  in  a  mean  street,  near  the  Reuss. 
But  when  he  entered,  misery  and  despair  alone  welcomed 
him.  Beaufort  had  saved  but  a  very  small  sum  of  money 
from  the  wreck  of  his  fortunes;  but  it  was  sufficient  to 
provide  him  with  sustenance  for  some  months,  and  in  the 
mean  time  he  hoped  to  procure  some  respectable  employ- 
ment in  a  merchant's  house.  The  interval  was,  consequently, 
spent  in  inaction  ;  his  grief  only  became  more  deep  and 
rankling,  when  he  had  leisure  for  reflection  ;  and  at  length 
it  took  so  fast  hold  of  his  mind,  that  at  the  end  of  three 
months  he  lay  on  a  bed  of  sickness,  incapable  of  any  ex- 
ertion. 

His  daughter  attended  him  with  the  greatest  tenderness ; 
but  she  saw  with  despair  that  their  little  fund  was  rapidly 
decreasing,  and  that  there  was  no  other  prospect  of  support. 
But  Caroline  Beaufort  possessed  a  mind  of  an  uncommon 
mould ;  and  her  courage  rose  to  support  her  in  her  ad- 
versity. She  procured  plain  work ;  she  plaited  straw ;  and 
by  various  means  contrived  to  earn  a  pittance  scarcely  suf- 
ficient to  support  life. 

Several  months  passed  in  this  manner.  Her  father  grew 
worse  ;  her  time  was  more  entirely  occupied  in  attending 
him  ;  her  means  of  subsistence  decreased  ;  and  in  the  tenth 
month  her  father  died  in  her  arms,  leaving  her  an  orphan 
and  a  beggar.  This  last  blow  overcame  her ;  and  she  knelt 
by  Beaufort's  coffin,  weeping  bitterly,  when  my  father  en- 
tered the  chamber.  He  came  like  a  protecting  spirit  to  the 
c  2 


20  FRANKENSTEIN;  OR, 

poor  girl,  who  committed  herself  to  his  care ;  and  after  the 
interment  of  his  friend,  he  conducted  her  to  Geneva,  and 
placed  her  under  the  protection  of  a  relation.  Two  years 
after  this  event  Caroline  became  his  wife. 

There  was  a  considerable  difference  between  the  ages  of 
my  parents,  but  this  circumstance  seemed  to  unite  them  only 
closer  in  bonds  of  devoted  affection.  There  was  a  sense  of 
justice  in  my  father's  upright  mind,  which  rendered  it 
necessary  that  he  should  approve  highly  to  love  strongly. 
Perhaps  during  former  years  he  had  suffered  from  the  late- 
discovered  unworthiness  of  one  beloved,  and  so  was  dis- 
posed to  set  a  greater  value  on  tried  worth.  There  was  a 
show  of  gratitude  and  worship  in  his  attachment  to  my 
mother,  differing  wholly  from  the  doating  fondness  of  age, 
for  it  was  inspired  by  reverence  for  her  virtues,  and  a 
desire  to  be  the  means  of,  in  some  degree,  recompensing 
her  for  the  sorrows  she  had  endured,  but  which  gave  in- 
expressible grace  to  his  behaviour  to  her.  Every  thing 
was  made  to  yield  to  her  wishes  and  her  convenience.  He 
strove  to  shelter  her,  as  a  fair  exotic  is  sheltered  by  the 
gardener,  from  every  rougher  wind,  and  to  surround  her 
with  all  that  could  tend  to  excite  pleasurable  emotion  in 
her  soft  and  benevolent  mind.  Her  health,  and  even  the 
tranquillity  of  her  hitherto  constant  spirit,  had  been  shaken 
by  what  she  had  gone  through.  During  the  two  years  that 
had  elapsed  previous  to  their  marriage  my  father  had 
gradually  relinquished  all  his  public  functions;  and  imme- 
diately after  their  union  they  sought  the  pleasant  climate 
of  Italy,  and  the  change  of  scene  and  interest  attendant  on 
a  tour  through  that  land  of  wonders,  as  a  restorative  for  her 
weakened  frame. 

From  Italy  they  visited  Germany  and  France.  I,  their 
eldest  child,  was  born  at  Naples,  and  as  an  infant  accom- 
panied them  in  their  rambles.  I  remained  for  several  years 
their  only  child.  Much  as  they  were  attached  to  each 
other,  they  seemed  to  draw  inexhaustible  stores  of  affection 
from  a  very  mine  of  love  to  bestow  them  upon  me.  My 
mother's  tender  caresses,  and  my  father's  smile  of  benevolent 
pleasure  while  regarding  me,  are  my  first  recollections.  I 
was  their  plaything  and  their  idol,  and  something  better— 


THE    3IODERN    PROMETHEUS.  21 

their  child,  the  innocent  and  helpless  creature  hestowed  on 
them  by  Heaven,,  whom  to  bring  up  to  good,,  and  whose 
future  lot  it  was  in  their  hands  to  direct  to  happiness  or 
misery,  according  as  they  fulfilled  their  duties  towards  me. 
With  this  deep  consciousness  of  what  they  owed  towards 
the  being  to  which  they  had  given  life,  added  to  the  active 
spirit  of  tenderness  that  animated  both,  it  may  be  imagined 
that  while  during  every  hour  of  my  infant  life  I  received  a 
lesson  of  patience,  of  charity,  and  of  self-control,  I  was  so 
guided  by  a  silken  cord,  that  all  seemed  but  one  train  of 
enjoyment  to  me. 

For  a  long  time  I  was  their  only  care.  My  mother  had 
much  desired  to  have  a  daughter,  but  I  continued  their 
single  offspring.  When  I  was  about  five  years  old,  while 
making  an  excursion  beyond  the  frontiers  of  Italy,  they 
passed  a  week  on  the  shores  of  the  Lake  of  Como.  Their 
benevolent  disposition  often  made  them  enter  the  cottages 
of  the  poor.  This,  to  my  mother,  was  more  than  a  duty  ; 
it  was  a  necessity,  a  passion, — remembering  what  she  had 
suffered,  and  how  she  had  been  relieved, — for  her  to  act  in 
her  turn  the  guardian  angel  to  the  afflicted.  During  one 
of  their  walks  a  poor  cot  in  the  foldings  of  a  vale  attracted 
their  notice,  as  being  singularly  disconsolate,  while  the 
number  of  half-clothed  children  gathered  about  it,  spoke  of 
penury  in  its  worst  shape.  One  day,  when  my  father  had 
gone  by  himself  to  Milan,  my  mother,  accompanied  by  me, 
visited  this  abode.  She  found  a  peasant  and  his  wife, 
hard  working,  bent  down  by  care  and  labour,  distributing 
a  scanty  meal  to  five  hungry  babes.  Among  these  there 
was  one  which  attracted  my  mother  far  above  all  the*  rest. 
She  appeared  of  a  different  stock.  The  four  others  were 
dark-eyed,  hardy  little  vagrants ;  this  child  was  thin,  and 
very  fair.  Her  hair  was  the  brightest  living  gold,  and, 
despite  the  poverty  of  her  clothing,  seemed  to  set  a  crown 
of  distinction  on  her  head.  Her  brow  was  clear  and 
ample,  her  blue  eyes  cloudless,  and  her  lips  and  the  mould- 
ing of  her  face  so  expressive  of  sensibility  and  sweetness, 
that  none  could  behold  her  without  looking  on  her  as  of  a 
distinct  species,  a  being  heaven-sent,  and  bearing  a  celestial 
stamp  in  all  her  features. 

c  3 


22  FRANKENSTEIN;  OR, 

The  peasant  woman,,  perceiving  that  my  mother  fixed 
eyes  of  wonder  and  admiration  on  this  lovely  girl.,  eagerly 
communicated  her  history.  She  was  not  her  child,  but  the 
daughter  of  a  Milanese  nobleman.  Her  mother  was  a 
German,  and  had  died  on  giving  her  birth.  The  infant 
had  been  placed  with  these  good  people  to  nurse :  they 
were  better  off  then.  They  had  not  been  long  married,, 
and  their  eldest  child  was  but  just  born.  The  father  of 
their  charge  was  one  of  those  Italians  nursed  in  the  me- 
mory of  the  antique  glory  of  Italy, — one  among  the  schiavi 
ognor  frementi,  who  exerted  himself  to  obtain  the  liberty 
of  his  country.  He  became  the  victim  of  its  weakness. 
Whether  he  had  died,  or  still  lingered  in  the  dungeons  of 
Austria,  was  not  known.  His  property  was  confiscated,  his 
child  became  an  orphan  and  a  beggar.  She  continued  with 
her  foster  parents,  and  bloomed  in  their  rude  abode,  fairer 
than  a  garden  rose  among  dark-leaved  brambles. 

When  my  father  returned  from  Milan,  he  found  playing 
with  me  in  the  hall  of  our  villa,  a  child  fairer  than  pictured 
cherub  —  a  creature  who  seemed  to  shed  radiance  from  her 
looks,  and  whose  form  and  motions  were  lighter  than  the 
chamois  of  the  hills.  The  apparition  was  soon  explained. 
With  his  permission  my  mother  prevailed  on  her  rustic 
guardians  to  yield  their  charge  to  her.  They  were  fond  of 
the  sweet  orphan.  Her  presence  had  seemed  a  blessing  to 
them  j  but  it  would  be  unfair  to  her  to  keep  her  in  poverty  and 
want,  when  Providence  afforded  her  such  powerful  protec- 
tion. They  consulted  their  village  priest,  and  the  result 
was,  that  Elizabeth  Lavenza  became  the  inmate  of  my 
parents'  house  —  my  more  than  sister  —  the  beautiful  and 
adored  companion  of  all  my  occupations  and  my  pleasures. 

Every  one  loved  Elizabeth.  The  passionate  and  almost 
reverential  attachment  with  which  all  regarded  her  became, 
while  I  shared  it,  my  pride  and  my  delight.  On  the  evening 
previous  to  her  being  brought  to  my  home,  my  mother  had 
said  playfully,  —  "  I  have  a  pretty  present  for  my  Victor- 
to-morrow  he  shall  have  it."  And  when,  on  the  morrow, 
she  presented  Elizabeth  to  me  as  her  promised  gift,  I,  with 
childish  seriousness,  interpreted  her  words  literally,  and 
looked  upon  Elizabeth  as  mine  —  mine  to  protect,  love,  and 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  23 

cherish.  All  praises  bestowed  on  her,  I  received  as  made 
to  a  possession  of  my  own.  We  called  each  other  fami- 
liarly by  the  name  of  cousin.  No  word,  no  expression 
could  body  forth  the  kind  of  relation  in  which  she  stood  to 
me  —  my  more  than  sister,,  since  till  death  she  was  to  be 
mine  only. 


CHAPTER  II. 

WE  were  brought  up  together ;  there  was  not  quite  a  year 
difference  in  our  ages.  I  need  not  say  that  we  were 
strangers  to  any  species  of  disunion  or  dispute.  Harmony 
was  the  soul  of  our  companionship,  and  the  diversity  and  con- 
trast that  subsisted  in  our  characters  drew  us  nearer  toge- 
ther. Elizabeth  was  of  a  calmer  and  more  concentrated  dis- 
position; but,  with  all  my  ardour,  I  was  capable  of  a  more 
intense  application,  and  was  more  deeply  smitten  with  the 
thirst  for  knowledge.  She  busied  herself  with  following 
the  aerial  creations  of  the  poets ;  and  in  the  majestic 
wondrous  scenes  which  surrounded  our  Swiss  home  -£{ 
sublime  shapes  of  the  mountains ;  the  changes  of  the  sea- 
sons; tempest  and  calm;  the  silence  of  winter,  and  the  life 
and  turbulence  of  our  Alpine  summers,—  she  found  ample 
scope  for  admiration  and  delight.  While  my  companion 
contemplated  with  a  serious  and  satisfied  spirit  the  mag- 
nificent appearances  of  things,  I  delighted  in  investigating 
their  causes.  The  world  was  to  me  a  secret  which  I  de- 
sired to  divine.  Curiosity,  earnest  research  to  learn  the 
hidden  laws  of  nature,  gladness  akin  to  rapture,  as  they 
were  unfolded  to  me,  are  among  the  earliest  sensations  I 
can  remember. 

On  the  birth  of  a  second  son,  my  junior  by  seven  years, 
my  parents  gave  up  entirely  their  wandering  life,  and  fixed 
themselves  in  their  native  country.  We  possessed  a  house 
in  Geneva,  and  a  campagne  on  Belrive,  the  eastern  shore 
of  the  lake,  at  the  distance  of  rather  more  than  a  league 
from  the  city.  We  resided  principally  in  the  latter,  and 


24  FRANKENSTEIN;  OR, 

the  lives  of  my  parents  were  passed  in  considerable  seclu- 
sion. It  was  my  temper  to  avoid  a  crowd,,  and  to  attach 
myself  fervently  to  a  few.  I  was  indifferent,  therefore.,  to 
my  schoolfellows  in  general ;  but  I  united  myself  in  the 
bonds  of  the  closest  friendship  to  one  among  them.  Henry 
Clerval  was  the  son  of  a  merchant  of  Geneva.  He  was  a 
boy  of  singular  talent  and  fancy.  He  loved  enterprise, 
hardship,  and  even  danger,  for  its  own  sake.  He  was 
deeply  read  in  books  of  chivalry  and  romance.  He  com- 
posed heroic  songs,  and  began  to  write  many  a  tale  of 
enchantment  and  knightly  adventure.  He  tried  to  make 
us  act  plays,  and  to  enter  into  masquerades,  in  which  the 
characters  were  drawn  from  the  heroes  of  Roncesvalles,  of 
the  Round  Table  of  King  Arthur,  and  the  chivalrous  train 
who  shed  their  blood  to  redeem  the  holy  sepulchre  from 
the  hands  of  the  infidels. 

No  human  being  could  have  passed  a  happier  childhood 
than  myself.  My  parents  were  possessed  by  the  very  spirit 
of  kindness  and  indulgence.  We  felt  that  they  were  not 
the  tyrants  to  rule  our  lot  according  to  their  caprice,  but 
the  agents  and  creators  of  all  the  many  delights  which  we 
er/]-oyed.  When  I  mingled  with  other  families,  I  distinctly 
discerned  how  peculiarly  fortunate  my  lot  was,  and  grati- 
tude assisted  the  developement  of  filial  love. 
-  My  temper  was  sometimes  violent,  and  my  passions  ve- 
hement ;  but  by  some  law  in  my  temperature  they  were 
turned,  not  towards  childish  pursuits,  but  to  an  eager  de- 
sire to  learn,  and  not  to  learn  all  things  indiscriminately. 
I  confess  that  neither  the  structure  of  languages,  nor  the 
code  of  governments,  nor  the  politics  of  various  states, 
possessed  attractions  for  me.  It  was  the  secrets  of  heaven 
and  earth  that  I  desired  to  learn ;  and  whether  it  was  the 
outward  substance  of  things,  or  the  inner  spirit  of  nature 
and  the  mysterious  soul  of  man  that  occupied  me,  still  my 
enquiries  were  directed  to  the  metaphysical,  or,  in  its  high- 
est sense,  the  physical  secrets  of  the  world. 

Meanwhile  Clerval  occupied  himself,  so  to  speak,  with 
the  moral  relations  of  things.  The  busy  stage  of  life,  the 
virtues  of  heroes,  and  the  actions  of  men,  were  his  theme  ; 
and  his  hope  and  his  dream  was  to  become  one  among  those 


THE    MODERN    PR031ETHEUS.  25 

whose  names  are  recorded  in  story,  as  the  gallant  and  ad- 
venturous benefactors  of  our  species.  The  saintly  soul  of 
Elizabeth  shone  like  a  shrine-dedicated  lamp  in  our  peace- 
ful home.  Her  sympathy  was  ours ;  her  smile,  her  soft 
voice,  the  sweet  glance  of  her  celestial  eyes,  were  ever  there 
to  bless  and  animate  us.  She  was  the  living  spirit  of  love 
to  soften  and  attract :  I  might  have  become  sullen  in  my 
study,  rough  through  the  ardour  of  my  nature,  but  that  she 
was  there  to  subdue  me  to  a  semblance  of  her  own  gentle- 
ness. And  Clerval — could  aught  ill  entrench  on  the  noble 
spirit  of  Clerval? — yet  he  might  not  have  been  so  per- 
fectly humane,  so  thoughtful  in  his  generosity — so  full  of 
kindness  and  tenderness  amidst  his  passion  for  adventurous 
exploit,  had  she  not  unfolded  to  him  the  real  loveliness  of 
beneficence,  and  made  the  doing  good  the  end  and  aim  of 
his  soaring  ambition. 

I  feel  exquisite  pleasure  in  dwelling  on  the  recollections 
of  childhood,  before  misfortune  had  tainted  'my  mind,  and 
changed  its  bright  visions  of  extensive  usefulness  into 
gloomy  and  narrow  reflections  upon  self.  Besides,  in 
drawing  the  picture  of  my  early  days,  I  also  record  those 
events  which  led,  by  insensible  steps,  to  my  after  tale  of 
misery  :  for  when  I  would  account  to  myself  for  the  birth 
of  that  passion,  which  afterwards  ruled  my  destiny,  I  find 
it  arise,  like  a  mountain  river,  from  ignoble  and  almost 
forgotten  sources ;  but,  swelling  as  it  proceeded,  it  be- 
came the  torrent  which,  in  its  course,  has  swept  away  all 
my  hopes  and  joys. 

Natural  philosophy  is  the  genius  that  has  regulated  my 
fate  j  I  desire,  therefore,  in  this  narration,  to  state  those 
facts  which  led  to  my  predilection  for  that  science.  When 
I  was  thirteen  years  of  age,  we  all  went  on  a  party  of 
pleasure  to  the  baths  near  Thonon  :  the  inclemency  of  the 
weather  obliged  us  to  remain  a  day  confined  to  the  inn. 
In  this  house  I  chanced  to  find  a  volume  of  the  works  of 
Cornelius  Agrippa.  I  opened  it  with  apathy ;  the  theory 
which  he  attempts  to  demonstrate,  and  the  wonderful  facts 
which  he  relates,  soon  changed  this  feeling  into  enthusiasm. 
A  new  light  seemed  to  dawn  upon  my  mind ;  and,  bound- 
ing with  joy,  I  communicated  my  discovery  to  my  father. 


xiO  FRANKEXSTEIN  ;    OR, 

My  father  looked  carelessly  at  the  titlepage  of  my  book, 
and  said,  ' '  Ah  !  Cornelius  Agrippa  !  My  dear  Victor,  do 
not  waste  your  time  upon  this ;  it  is  sad  trash." 

If,  instead  of  this  remark,  my  father  had  taken  the 
pains  to  explain  to  me,  that  the  principles  of  Agrippa  had 
been  entirely  exploded,  and  that  a  modern  system  of  science 
had  been  introduced,  which  possessed  much  greater  powers 
than  the  ancient,  because  the  powers  of  the  latter  were  chi- 
merical, while  those  of  the  former  were  real  and  practical ; 
under  such  circumstances,  I  should  certainly  have  thrown 
Agrippa  aside,  and  have  contented  my  imagination,  warmed 
as  it  was,  by  returning  with  greater  ardour  to  my  former 
studies.  It  is  even  possible,  that  the  train  of  my  ideas 
would  never  have  received  the  fatal  impulse  that  led  to 
my  ruin.  But  the  cursory  glance  my  father  had  taken  of 
my  volume  by  no  means  assured  me  that  he  was  acquainted 
with  its  contents ;  and  I  continued  to  read  with  the  greatest 
avidity. 

When  I  returned  home,  my  first  care  was  to  procure  the 
whole  works  of  this  author,  and  afterwards  of  Paracelsus 
and  Albertus  Magnus.  I  read  and  studied  the  wild  fancies 
of  these  writers  with  delight ;  they  appeared  to  me  trea- 
sures known  to  few  beside  myself.  I  have  described  my- 
self as  always  having  been  embued  with  a  fervent  longing 
to  penetrate  the  secrets  of  nature.  In  spite  of  the  intense 
labour  and  wonderful  discoveries  of  modern  philosophers, 
I  always  came  from  my  studies  discontented  and  unsatis- 
fied. Sir  Isaac  Newton  is  said  to  have  avowed  that  he  felt 
like  a  child  picking  up  shells  beside  the  great  and  unex- 
plored ocean  of  truth.  Those  of  his  successors  in  each 
branch  of  natural  philosophy  with  whom  I  was  acquainted, 
appeared  even  to  my  boy's  apprehensions,  as  tyros  engaged 
in  the  same  pursuit. 

The  untaught  peasant  beheld  the  elements  around  him, 
and  was  acquainted  with  their  practical  uses.  The  most 
learned  philosopher  knew  little  more.  He  had  partially 
unveiled  the  face  of  Nature,  but  her  immortal  lineaments 
were  still  a  wonder  and  a  mystery.  He  might  dissect, 
anatomise,  and  give  names ;  but,  not  to  speak  of  a  final 
cause,  causes  in  their  secondary  and  tertiary  grades  were 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  2? 

utterly  unknown  to  him.  I  had  gazed  upon  the  fortifica- 
tions and  impediments  that  seemed  to  keep  human  beings 
from  entering  the  citadel  of  nature,  and  rashly  and  igno- 
rantly  I  had  repined. 

But  here  were  books,  and  here  were  men  who  had  pene- 
trated deeper  and  knew  more.  I  took  their  word  for  all  that 
they  averred,  and  I  became  their  disciple.  It  may  appear 
strange  that  such  should  arise  in  the  eighteenth  century  ; 
but  while  I  followed  the  routine  of  education  in  the  schools 
of  Geneva,  I  was,  to  a  great  degree,  self  taught  with  regard 
to  my  favourite  studies.  My  father  was  not  scientific,  and 
I  was  left  to  struggle  with  a  child's  blindness,  added  to  a 
student's  thirst  for  knowledge.  Under  the  guidance  of  my 
new  preceptors,  I  entered  with  the  greatest  diligence  into 
the  search  of  the  philosopher's  stone  and  the  elixir  of  life; 
but  the  latter  soon  obtained  my  undivided  attention. 
Wealth  was  an  inferior  object ;  but  what  glory  wrould  at- 
tend the  discovery,  if  I  could  banish  disease  from  the 
human  frame,  and  render  man  invulnerable  to  any  but  a 
violent  death  ! 

Nor  were  these  my  only  visions.  The  raising  of  ghosts 
or  devils  was  a  promise  liberally  accorded  by  my  favourite 
authors,  the  fulfilment  of  which  I  most  eagerly  sought;  and 
if  my  incantations  were  always  unsuccessful,  I  attributed  the 
failure  rather  to  my  own  inexperience  and  mistake,  than  to 
a  want  of  skill  or  fidelity  in  my  instructors.  And  thus  for 
a  time  I  was  occupied  by  exploded  systems,  mingling,  like 
an  unadept,  a  thousand  contradictory  theories,  and  ^floun- 
dering desperately  in  a  very  slough  of  multifarious  know- 
ledge, guided  by  an  ardent  imagination  and  childish  reason- 
ing, till  an  accident  again  changed  the  current  of  my  ideas. 

When  I  was  about  fifteen  years  old  we  had  retired  to  our 
house  near  Belrive,  when  we  witnessed  a  most  violent  and 
terrible  thunder-storm.  It  advanced  from  behind  the 
mountains  of  Jura;  and  the  thunder  burst  at  once  with 
frightful  loudness  from  various  quarters  of  the  heavens.  I 
remained,  while  the  storm  lasted,  watching  its  progress 
with  curiosity  and  delight.  As  I  stood  at  the  door,  on  a 
sudden  I  beheld  a  stream  of  fire  issue  from  an  old  and 
beautiful  oak,  which  stood  about  twenty  yards  from  our 


28  FRANKENSTEIN  ;    OR, 

house  ;  and  so  soon  as  the  dazzling  light  vanished,  the  oak 
had  disappeared,  and  nothing  remained  hut  a  blasted 
stump.  When  we  visited  it  the  next  morning,  we  found  the 
tree  shattered  in  a  singular  manner.  It  was  not  splintered 
by  the  shock,  but  entirely  reduced  to  thin  ribands  of  wood. 
I  never  beheld  any  thing  so  utterly  destroyed. 

Before  this  I  was  not  unacquainted  with  the  more  ob- 
vious laws  of  electricity.  On  this  occasion  a  man  of  great 
research  in  natural  philosophy  was  with  us,  and,  excited  by 
this  catastrophe,  he  entered  on  the  explanation  of  a  theory 
which  he  had  formed  on  the  subject  of  electricity  and  gal- 
vanism, which  was  at  once  new  and  astonishing  to  me.  All 
that  he  said  threw  greatly  into  the  shade  Cornelius  Agrippa, 
Albertus  Magnus,  and  Paracelsus,  the  lords  of  my  imagin- 
ation ;  but  by  some  fatality  the  overthrow  of  these  men 
disinclined  me  to  pursue  my  accustomed  studies.  It 
seemed  to  me  as  if  nothing  would  or  could  ever  be  known. 
All  that  had  so  long  engaged  my  attention  suddenly  grew 
despicable.  By  one  of  those  caprices  of  the  mind,  which 
we  are  perhaps  most  subject  to  in  early  youth,  I  at  once 
gave  up  my  former  occupations ;  set  down  natural  history 
and  all  its  progeny  as  a  deformed  and  abortive  creation ; 
and  entertained  the  greatest  disdain  for  a  would-be  science, 
which  could  never  even  step  within  the  threshold  of  real 
knowledge.  In  this  mood  of  mind  I  betook  myself  to  the 
mathematics,  and  the  branches  of  study  appertaining  to 
that  science,  as  being  built  upon  secure  foundations,  and  so 
worthy  of  my  consideration. 

Thus  strangely  are  our  souls  constructed,  and  by  such 
slight  ligaments  are  we  bound  to  prosperity  or  ruin.  When 
I  look  back,  it  seems  to  me  as  if  this  almost  miraculous 
change  of  inclination  and  will  was  the  immediate  sug- 
gestion of  the  guardian  angel  of  my  life  —  the  last  effort 
made  by  the  spirit  of  preservation  to  avert  the  storm  that 
was  even  then  hanging  in  the  stars,  and  ready  to  envelope 
me.  Her  victory  was  announced  by  an  unusual  tranquil- 
lity and  gladness  of  soul,  which  followed  the  relinquishing 
of  my  ancient  and  latterly  tormenting  studies.  It  was  thus 
that  I  was  to  be  taught  to  associate  evil  with  their  prose- 
cution, happiness  with  their  disregard. 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  29 

It  was  a  strong  effort  of  the  spirit  of  good ;  but  it  was 
ineffectual.  Destiny  was  too  potent,  and  her  immutable 
laws  had  decreed  my  utter  and  terrible  destruction. 


CHAPTER  III. 

I  had  attained  the  age  of  seventeen,  my  parents  re- 
solved that  I  should  become  a  student  at  the  university  of 
Ingolstadt.  I  had  hitherto  attended  the  schools  of  Ge- 
neva ;  but  my  father  thought  it  necessary,  for  the  comple- 
tion of  my  education,  that  I  should  be  made  acquainted 
with  other  customs  than  those  of  my  native  country.  My 
departure  was  therefore  fixed  at  an  early  date  j  but,  before 
the  day  resolved  upon  could  arrive,  the  first  misfortune  of 
my  life  occurred — an  omen,  as  it  were,  of  my  future 
misery. 

Elizabeth  had  caught  the  scarlet  fever ;  her  illness  was 
severe,  and  she  was  in  the  greatest  danger.  During  her 
illness,  many  arguments  had  been  urged  to  persuade  my 
mother  to  refrain  from  attending  upon  her.  She  had,  at 
first,  yielded  to  our  entreaties ;  but  when  she  heard  that  the 
life  of  her  favourite  was  menaced,  she  could  no  longer  con- 
trol her  anxiety.  She  attended  her  sick  bed, — her  watch- 
ful attentions  triumphed  over  the  malignity  of  the  dis- 
temper,—  Elizabeth  was  saved,  but  the  consequences  of 
this  imprudence  were  fatal  to  her  preserver.  On  the  third 
day  my  mother  sickened ;  her  fever  was  accompanied 
by  the  most  alarming  symptoms,  and  the  looks  of  her 
medical  attendants  prognosticated  the  worst  event.  On 
her  death-bed  the  fortitude  and  benignity  of  this  best  of 
women  did  not  desert  her.  She  joined  the  hands  of  Eliza- 
beth and  myself :  —  "  My  children,"  she  said,  "  my  firmest 
hopes  of  future  happiness  were  placed  on  the  prospect  of 
your  union.  This  expectation  will  now  be  the  consolation 
of  your  father.  Elizabeth,  my  love,  you  must  supply  my 
place  to  my  younger  children.  Alas  !  I  regret  that  I  am 
taken  from  you ;  and,  happy  and  beloved  as  I  have  been, 


SO  FRANKENSTEIN  j    OR, 

is  it  not  hard  to  quit  you  all  ?  But  these  are  not  thoughts 
befitting  me ;  I  will  endeavour  to  resign  myself  cheerfully 
to  death,  and  will  indulge  a  hope  of  meeting  you  in  another 
world." 

She  died  calmly  ;  and  her  countenance  expressed  affec- 
tion even  in  death.  I  need  not  describe  the  feelings  of 
those  whose  dearest  ties  are  rent  by  that  most  irreparable 
evil;  the  void  that  presents  itself  to  the  soul;  and  the 
tlespair  that  is  exhibited  on  the  countenance.  It  is  so  long 
before  the  mind  can  persuade  itself  that  she,  whom  we  saw 
every  day,  and  whose  very  existence  appeared  a  part  of  our 
own,  can  have  departed  for  ever — that  the  brightness  of  a 
beloved  eye  can  have  been  extinguished,  and  the  sound  of 
a  voice  so  familiar,  and  clear  to  the  ear,  can  be  hushed, 
never  more  to  be  heard.  These  are  the  reflections  of  the 
first  days ;  but  when  the  lapse  of  time  proves  the  reality  of 
the  evil,,  then  the  actual  bitterness  of  grief  commences.  Yet 
from  whom  has  not  that  rude  hand  rent  away  some  dear 
connection  ?  and  why  should  I  describe  a  sorrow  which  all 
have  felt,  and  must  feel?  The  time  at  length  arrives, 
when  grief  is  rather  an  indulgence  than  a  necessity ;  and 
the  smile  that  plays  upon  the  lips,  although  it  may  be 
deemed  a  sacrilege,  is  not  banished.  My  mother  was  dead, 
but  we  had  still  duties  which  we  ought  to  perform ;  we 
must  continue  our  course  with  the  rest,  and  learn  to  think 
ourselves  fortunate,  whilst  one  remains  whom  the  spoiler 
has  not  seized. 

My  departure  for  Ingolstadt,  which  had  been  deferred 
by  these  events,  was  now  again  determined  upon.  I  ob- 
tained from  my  father  a  respite  of  some  weeks.  It  appeared 
to  me  sacrilege  so  soon  to  leave  the  repose,  akin  to  death, 
of  the  house  of  mourning,  and  to  rush  into  the  thick  of 
life.  I  was  new  to  sorrow,  but  it  did  not  the  less  alarm 
me.  I  was  unwilling  to  quit  the  sight  of  those  that 
remained  to  me  j  and,  above  all,  I  desired  to  see  my  sweet 
Elizabeth  in  some  degree  consoled. 

She  indeed  veiled  her  grief,  and  strove  to  act  the  com- 
forter to  us  all.  She  looked  steadily  on  life,  and  assumed 
its  duties  with  courage  and  zeal.  She  devoted  herself  to 
those  whom  she  had  been  taught  to  call  her  uncle  and 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  31 

cousins.  Never  was  she  so  enchanting  as  at  this  time, 
when  she  recalled  the  sunshine  of  her  smiles  and  spent 
them  upon  us.  She  forgot  even  her  own  regret  in  her 
endeavours  to  make  us  forget. 

The  day  of  my  departure  at  length  arrived.  Clerval 
spent  the  last  evening  with  us.  He  had  endeavoured  to 
persuade  his  father  to  permit  him  to  accompany  me.,  and  to 
become  my  fellow  student ;  but  in  vain.  His  father  was  a 
narrow-minded  trader,  and  saw  idleness  and  ruin  in  the 
aspirations  and  ambition  of  his  son.  Henry  deeply  felt  the 
misfortune  of  being  debarred  from  a  liberal  education.  He 
said  little;  but  when  he  spoke,  I  read  in  his  kindling  eye 
and  in  his  animated  glance  a  restrained  but  firm  resolve, 
not  to  be  chained  to  the  miserable  details  of  commerce. 

We  sat  late.  We  could  not  tear  ourselves  away  from 
each  other,  nor  persuade  ourselves  to  say  the  wx>rd  ff  Fare- 
well ! "  It  was  said ;  and  we  retired  under  the  pretence 
of  seeking  repose,  each  fancying  that  the  other  was  de- 
ceived :  but  when  at  morning's  dawn  I  descended  to  the 
carriage  which  was  to  convey  me  away,  they  were  all  there 
—  my  father  again  to  bless  me,  Clerval  to  press  my  hand 
once  more,  my  Elizabeth  to  renew  her  entreaties  that  I 
would  write  often,  and  to  bestow  the  last  feminine  attentions 
on  her  playmate  and  friend. 

it,  I  threw  myself  into  the  chaise  that  was  to  convey  me 
away,  and  indulged  in  the  most  melancholy  reflections.  I, 
who  had  ever  been  surrounded  by  amiable  companions, 
continually  engaged  in  endeavouring  to  bestow  mutual  plea- 
sure, I  was  now  alone.  In  the  university,  whither  I  was 
going,  I  must  form  my  own  friends,  and  be  my  own  pro- 
tector. My  life  had  hitherto  been  remarkably  secluded 
and  domestic ;  and  this  had  given  me  invincible  repugnance 
to  new  countenances.  I  loved  my  brothers,  Elizabeth,  and 
Clerval ;  these  were  "  old  familiar  faces ; "  but  I  believed 
myself  totally  unfitted  for  the  company  of  strangers.  Such 
were  my  reflections  as  1  commenced  my  journey ;  but  as 
I  proceeded,  my  spirits  and  hopes  rose.  I  ardently  desired 
the  acquisition  of  knowledge.  I  had  often,  when  at  home, 
thought  it  hard  to  remain  during  my  youth  cooped  up  in 
one  place,  and  had  longed  to  enter  the  world,,  and  take  my 


32  FRANKENSTEIN;  OR, 

station  among  other  human  heings.  Now  my  desires  were 
complied  with,  and  it  would,  indeed,  have  been  folly  to 
repent. 

I  had  sufficient  leisure  for  these  and  many  other  reflec- 
tions during  my  journey  to  Ingolstadt,  which  was  long 
and  fatiguing.  At  length  the  high  white  steeple  of  the 
town  met  my  eyes.  I  alighted,  and  was  conducted  to  my 
solitary  apartment,  to  spend  the  evening  as  I  pleased. 

The  next  morning  I  delivered  my  letters  of  introduction, 
and  paid  a  visit  to  some  of  the  principal  professors.  Chance 
—  or  rather  the  evil  influence,  the  Angel  of  Destruction, 
which  asserted  omnipotent  sway  over  me  from  the  moment 
I  turned  my  reluctant  steps  from  my  father's  door  —  led 
me  first  to  Mr.  Krempe,  professor  of  natural  philosophy. 
He  was  an  uncouth  man,  but  deeply  embued  in  the  secrets 
of  his  science.  He  asked  me  several  questions  concerning 
my  progress  in  the  different  branches  of  science  appertain- 
ing to  natural  philosophy.  I  replied  carelessly ;  and,  partly 
in  contempt,  mentioned  the  names  of  my  alchymists  as  the 
principal  authors  I  had  studied.  The  professor  stared  : 
"  Have  you,"  he  said,  "  really  spent  your  time  in  studying 
such  nonsense  ?  " 

I  replied  in  the  affirmative.  "  Every  minute,"  continued 
M.  Krempe  with  warmth,  "  every  instant  that  you  have 
wasted  on  those  books  is  utterly  and  entirely  lost.  You 
have  burdened  your  memory  with  exploded  systems  and 
useless  names.  Good  God  !  in  what  desert  land  have  you 
lived,  where  no  one  was  kind  enough  to  inform  you  that 
these  fancies,  which  you  have  so  greedily  imbibed,  are  a 
thousand  years  old,  and  as  musty  as  they  are  ancient  ?  I 
little  expected,  in  this  enlightened  and  scientific  age,  to  find 
a  disciple  of  Albertus  Magnus  and  Paracelsus.  My  dear 
sir,  you  must  begin  your  studies  entirely  anew." 

So  saying,  he  stept  aside,  and  wrote  down  a  list  of  several 
books  treating  of  natural  philosophy,  which  he  desired  me 
to  procure  j  and  dismissed  me,  after  mentioning  that  in  the 
beginning  of  the  following  week  he  intended  to  commence 
a  course  of  lectures  upon  natural  philosophy  in  its  general 
relations,  and  that  M.  Waldman,  a  fellow-professor,  would 
lecture  upon  chemistry  the  alternate  days  that  he  omitted. 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  S3 

I  returned  home,,  not  disappointed,  for  I  have  said  that 
I  had  long  considered  those  authors  useless  whom  the  pro- 
fessor reprobated ;  but  I  returned,  not  at  all  the  more  in- 
clined to  recur  to  these  studies  in  any  shape.  M.  Krempe 
was  a  little  squat  man,  with  a  gruff  voice  and  a  repulsive 
countenance ;  the  teacher,  therefore,  did  not  prepossess  me 
in  favour  of  his  pursuits.  In  rather  a  too  philosophical 
and  connected  a  strain,  perhaps,  I  have  given  an  account 
of  the  conclusions  I  had  come  to  concerning  them  in  my 
early  years.  As  a  child,  I  had  not  been  content  with  the 
results  promised  by  the  modern  professors  of  natural  science. 
With  a  confusion  of  ideas  only  to  be  accounted  for  by  my 
extreme  youth,  and  my  want  of  a  guide  on  such  matters, 
I  had  retrod  the  steps  of  knowledge  along  the  paths  of  time, 
and  exchanged  the  discoveries  of  recent  enquirers  for  the 
dreams  of  forgotten  alchymists.  Besides,  I  had  a  contempt 
for  the  uses  of  modern  natural  philosophy.  It  was  very 
different,  when  the  masters  of  the  science  sought  immor- 
tality and  power  ;  such  views,  although  futile,  were  grand : 
but  now  the  scene  was  changed.  The  ambition  of  the 
enquirer  seemed  to  limit  itself  to  the  annihilation  of  those 
visions  on  which  my  interest  in  science  was  chiefly  founded, 
I  was  required  to  exchange  chimeras  of  boundless  grandeur 
for  realities  of  little  worth. 

Such  were  my  reflections  during  the  first  two  or  three 
days  of  my  residence  at  Ingolstadt,  which  were  chiefly 
spent  in  becoming  acquainted  with  the  localities,  and  the 
principal  residents  in  my  new  abode.  But  as  the  ensuing 
week  commenced,  I  thought  of  the  information  which 
M.  Krempe  had  given  me  concerning  the  lectures.  And 
although  I  could  not  consent  to  go  and  hear  that  little 
conceited  fellow  deliver  sentences  out  of  a  pulpit,  I  recol- 
lected what  he  had  said  of  M.  Waldman,  whom  I  had  never 
seen,  as  he  had  hitherto  been  out  of  town. 

Partly  from  curiosity,  and  partly  from  idleness,  I  went 
into  the  lecturing  room,  which  M.  Waldman  entered  shortly 
after.  This  professor  was  very  unlike  his  colleague.  He 
appeared  about  fifty  years  of  age,  but  with  an  aspect  ex- 
pressive of  the  greatest  benevolence  j  a  few  grey  hairs  co- 
vered his  temples,  but  those  at  the  back  of  his  head  were 

D 


34  FRANKENSTEIN;  OR, 

nearly  black.  His  person  was  short,  but  remarkably  erect ; 
and  his  voice  the  sweetest  I  had  ever  heard.  He  began  his 
lecture  by  a  recapitulation  of  the  history  of  chemistry,  and 
the  various  improvements  made  by  different  men  of  learn- 
ing, pronouncing  with  fervour  the  names  of  the  most  dis- 
tinguished discoverers.  He  then  took  a  cursory  view  of 
the  present  state  of  the  science,  and  explained  many  of  its 
elementary  terms.  After  having  made  a  few  preparatory 
experiments,  he  concluded  with  a  panegyric  upon  modern 
chemistry,  the  terms  of  which  I  shall  never  forget :  — 

"  The  ancient  teachers  of  this  science,"  said  he,  "  pro- 
mised impossibilities,  and  performed  nothing.  The  mo- 
dern masters  promise  very  little ;  they  know  that  metals 
cannot  be  transmuted,  and  that  the  elixir  of  life  is  a 
chimera.  But  these  philosophers,  whose  hands  seem  only 
made  to  dabble  in  dirt,  and  their  eyes  to  pore  over  the  mi- 
croscope or  crucible,  have  indeed  performed  miracles.  They 
penetrate  into  the  recesses  of  nature,  and  show  how  she 
works  in  her  hiding  places.  They  ascend  into  the  heavens: 
they  have  discovered  how  the  blood  circulates,  and  the 
nature  of  the  air  we  breathe.  They  have  acquired  new 
and  almost  unlimited  powers ;  they  can  command  the 
thunders  of  heaven,  mimic  the  earthquake,  and  even  mock 
the  invisible  world  with  its  own  shadows." 

Such  were  the  professor's  words — rather  let  me  say  such 
the  words  of  fate,  enounced  to  destroy  me.  As  he  went  on,  I 
felt  as  if  my  soul  were  grappling  with  a  palpable  enemy  ; 
one  by  one  the  various  keys  were  touched  which  formed 
the  mechanism  of  my  being :  chord  after  chord  was 
sounded,  and  soon  my  mind  was  filled  with  one  thought, 
one  conception,  one  purpose.  So  much  has  been  done, 
exclaimed  the  soul  of  Frankenstein,  —  more,  far  more,  will  I 
achieve :  treading  in  the  steps  already  marked,  I  will 
pioneer  a  new  way,  explore  unknown  powers,  and  unfold  to 
the  world  the  deepest  mysteries  of  creation. 

I  closed  not  my  eyes  that  night.  My  internal  being 
was  in  a  state  of  insurrection  and  turmoil ;  I  felt  that  order 
would  thence  arise,  but  I  had  no  power  to  produce  it.  By 
degrees,  after  the  morning's  dawn,  sleep  came.  I  awoke, 
and  my  yesternight's  thoughts  were  as  a  dream.  There  only 


i    : 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  35 


remained  a  resolution  to  return  to  my  ancient  studies,  and 
to  devote  myself  to  a  science  for  which  I  believed  myself 
to  possess  a  natural  talent.  On  the  same  day,  I  paid  M. 
Waldman  a  visit.  His  manners  in  private  were  even  more 
mild  and  attractive  than  in  public ;  for  there  was  a  certain 
dignity  in  his  mien  during  his  lecture,  which  in  his  own 
house  was  replaced  by  the  greatest  affability  and  kindness. 
I  gave  him  pretty  nearly  the  same  account  of  my  former 
pursuits  as  I  had  given  to  his  fellow-professor.  He  heard 
with  attention  the  little  narration  concerning  my  studies, 
and  smiled  at  the  names  of  Cornelius  Agrippa  and  Para- 
celsus, but  without  the  contempt  that  M.  Krempe  had  ex- 
hibited. He  said,  that  ' '  these  were  men  to  whose  inde- 
fatigable zeal  modern  philosophers  were  indebted  for  most 
of  the  foundations  of  their  knowledge.  They  had  left  to 
us,  as  an  easier  task,  to  give  new  names,  and  arrange  in 
connected  classifications,  the  facts  which  they  in  a  great 
degree  had  been  the  instruments  of  bringing  to  light.  The 
labours  of  men  of  genius,  however  erroneously  directed, 
scarcely  ever  fail  in  ultimately  turning  to  the  solid  advan- 
tage of  mankind."  I  listened  to  his  statement,  which  was 
delivered  without  any  presumption  or  affectation  j  and 
then  added,  that  his  lecture  had  removed  my  prejudices 
against  modern  chemists ;  I  expressed  myself  in  measured 
terms,  with  the  modesty  and  deference  due  from  a  youth 
to  his  instructor,  without  letting  escape  (inexperience  in 
life  would  have  made  me  ashamed)  any  of  the  enthusiasm 
which  stimulated  my  intended  labours.  I  requested  his 
advice  concerning  the  books  I  ought  to  procure. 

"  I  am  happy/'  said  M.  Waldman,  "  to  have  gained  a 
disciple  ;  and  if  your  application  equals  your  ability,  I  have 
no  doubt  of  your  success.  Chemistry  is  that  branch  of 
natural  philosophy  in  which  the  greatest  improvements  have 
been  and  may  be  made :  it  is  on  that  account  that  I  have 
made  it  my  peculiar  study ;  but  at  the  same  time  I  have 
not  neglected  the  other  branches  of  science.  A  man  would 
make  but  a  very  sorry  chemist  if  he  attended  to  that  de-i 
partment  of  human  knowledge  alone.  If  your  wish  is  to 
become  really  a  man  of  science,  and  not  merely  a  petty  ex- 
D  2 


86  FRANKENSTEIN;  OB, 

perimentalist,  I  should  advise  you  to  apply  to  every  branch 
of  natural  philosophy,  including  mathematics." 

He  then  took  me  into  his  laboratory,  and  explained  to 
me  the  uses  of  his  various  machines ;  instructing  me  as  to 
what  I  ought  to  procure,  and  promisingwne  the  use  of  his 
own  when  I  should  have  advanced  far  enough  in  the  science 
not  to  derange  their  mechanism.  He  also  gave  me  the 
list  of  books  which  I  had  requested;  and  I  took  my 
leave. 

Thus  ended  a  day  memorable  to  me:  it  decided  my 
future  destiny. 


CHAPTER  IV. 

FROM  this  day  natural  philosophy,  and  particularly  che- 
mistry, in  the  most  comprehensive  sense  of  the  term, 
became  nearly  my  sole  occupation.  I  read  with  ardour 
those  works,  so  full  of  genius  and  discrimination,  which 
modern  enquirers  have  written  on  these  subjects.  I  at- 
tended the  lectures,  and  cultivated  the  acquaintance,  of 
the  men  of  science  of  the  university ;  and  I  found  even  in 
M.  Krempe  a  great  deal  of  sound  sense  and  real  inform- 
ation, combined,  it  is  true,  with  a  repulsive  physiognomy 
and  manners,  but  not  on  that  account  the  less  valuable.  In 
M.  Waldman  I  found  a  true  friend.  His  gentleness  was 
never  tinged  by  dogmatism ;  and  his  instructions  were 
given  with  an  air  of  frankness  and  good  nature,  that 
banished  every  idea  of  pedantry.  In  a  thousand  ways  he 
smoothed  for  me  the  path  of  knowledge,  and  made  the  most 
abstruse  enquiries  clear  and  facile  to  my  apprehension. 
My  application  was  at  first  fluctuating  and  uncertain ;  it 
gained  strength  as  I  proceeded,  and  soon  became  so  ardent 
and  eager,  that  the  stars  often  disappeared  in  the  light  of 
morning  whilst  I  was  yet  engaged  in  my  laboratory. 

As  I  applied  so  closely,  it  may  be  easily  conceived  that 
my  progress  was  rapid.  My  ardour  was  indeed  the  asto- 
nishment of  the  students,  and  my  proficiency  that  of  the 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  37 

masters.  Professor  Krempe  often  asked  me,  with  a  sly 
smile,  how  Cornelius  Agrippa  went  on  ?  whilst  M.  Wald- 
man  expressed  the  most  heartfelt  exultation  in  my  progress. 
Two  years  passed  in  this  manner,  during  which  I  paid  no 
visit  to  Geneva,  but  was  engaged,  heart  and  soul,  in  the 
pursuit  of  some  discoveries,  which  I  hoped  to  make.  None 
but  those  who  have  experienced  them  can  conceive  of  the 
enticements  of  science.  In  other  studies  you  go  as  far  as 
others  have  gone  before  you,  and  there  is  nothing  more  to 
know  j  but  in  a  scientific  pursuit  there  is  continual  food 
for  discovery  and  wonder.  A  mind  of  moderate  capacity, 
which  closely  pursues  one  study,  must  infallibly  arrive  at 
great  proficiency  in  that  study;  and  I,  who  continually 
sought  the  attainment  of  one  object  of  pursuit,  and  was 
solely  wrapt  up  in  this,  improved  so  rapidly,  that,  at  the 
end  of  two  years,  I  made  some  discoveries  in  the  improve- 
ment of  some  chemical  instruments,  which  procured  me 
great  esteem  and  admiration  at  the  university.  When  I 
had  arrived  at  this  point,  and  had  become  as  well  acquainted 
with  the  theory  and  practice  of  natural  philosophy  as  de- 
pended on  the  lessons  of  any  of  the  professors  at  Ingolstadt, 
my  residence  there  being  no  longer  conducive  to  my  im- 
provements, I  thought  of  returning  to  my  friends  and  my 
native  town,  when  an  incident  happened  that  protracted 
ray  stay. 

One  of  the  phenomena  which  had  peculiarly  attracted 
my  attention  was  the  structure  of  the  human  frame,  and, 
indeed,  any  animal  endued  with  life.  Whence,  I  often 
asked  myself,  did  the  principle  of  life  proceed  ?  It  was  a 
bold  question,  and  one  which  has  ever  been  considered  as  a 
mystery ;  yet  with  how  many  things  are  we  upon  the  brink 
of  becoming  acquainted,  if  cowardice  or  carelessness  did 
not  restrain  our  enquiries.  I  revolved  these  circumstances 
in  my  mind,  and  determined  thenceforth  to  apply  myself 
more  particularly  to  those  branches  of  natural  philosophy 
which  relate  to  physiology.  Unless  I  had  been  animated 
by  an  almost  supernatural  enthusiasm,  my  application 
to  this  study  would  have  been  irksome,  Jand  almost  in- 
tolerable. To  examine  the  causes  of  life,  we  must  first 
have  recourse  to  death.  I  became  acquainted  with  the 
D  3 


38  FRANKENSTEIN  ;    OB, 

science  of  anatomy :  but  this  was  not  sufficient  j  I  must 
also  observe  the  natural  decay  and  corruption  of  the  human 
body.  In  my  education  my  father  had  taken  the  greatest 
precautions  that  my  mind  should  be  impressed  with  no 
supernatural  horrors.  I  do  not  ever  remember  to  have 
trembled  at  a  tale  of  superstition,  or  to  have  feared  the 
apparition  of  a  spirit.  Darkness  had  no  effect  upon  my 
fancy ;  and  a  churchyard  was  to  me  merely  the  receptacle 
of  bodies  deprived  of  life,  which,  from  being  the  seat  of 
beauty  and  strength,,  had  become  food  for  the  worm.  Now 
I  was  led  to  examine  the  cause  and  progress  of  this  decay, 
and  forced  to  spend  days  and  nights  in  vaults  and  charnel- 
houses.  My  attention  was  fixed  upon  every  object  the 
most  insupportable  to  the  delicacy  of  the  human  feelings. 
I  saw  how  the  fine  form  of  man  was  degraded  and  wasted; 
I  beheld  the  corruption  of  death  succeed  to  the  blooming 
cheek  of  life ;  I  saw  how  the  worm  inherited  the  wonders 
of  the  eye  and  brain.  I  paused,  examining  and  analysing 
all  the  minutiae  of  causation,  as  exemplified  in  the  change 
from  life  to  death,  and  death  to  life,  until  from  the  midst 
of  this  darkness  a  sudden  light  broke  in  upon  me  —  a  light 
so  brilliant  and  wondrous,  yet  so  simple,  that  while  I  be- 
came dizzy  with  the  immensity  of  the  prospect  which  it 
illustrated,  I  was  surprised,  that  among  so  many  men  of 
genius  who  had  directed  their  enquiries  towards  the  same 
science,  that  I  alone  should  be  reserved  to  discover  so  aston- 
ishing a  secret. 

Remember,  I  am  not  recording  the  vision  of  a  madman. 
The  sun  does  not  more  certainly  shine  in  the  heavens,  than 
that  which  I  now  affirm  is  true.  Some  miracle  might  have 
produced  it,  yet  the  stages  of  the  discovery  were  distinct 
and  probable.  After  days  and  nights  of  incredible  labour 
and  fatigue,  I  succeeded  in  discovering  the  cause  of  gener- 
ation and  life ;  nay,  more,  I  became  myself  capable  of  be- 
stowing animation  upon  lifeless  matter. 

The  astonishment  which  I  had  at  first  experienced  on 
this  discovery  soon  gave  place  to  delight  and  rapture. 
After  so  much  time  spent  in  painful  labour,  to  arrive  at 
once  at  the  summit  of  my  desires,  was  the  most  gratifying 
consummation  of  my  toils.  But  this  discovery  was  so 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  39 

great  and  overwhelming,  that  all  the  steps  by  which  I  had 
been  progressively  led  to  it  were  obliterated,,  and  I  beheld 
only  the  result.  What  had  been  the  study  and  desire  of 
the  wisest  men  since  the  creation  of  the  world  was  now 
within  my  grasp.  Not  that,  like  a  magic  scene,  it  all 
opened  upon  me  at  once :  the  information  I  had  obtained 
was  of  a  nature  rather  to  direct  my  endeavours  so  soon  as 
I  should  point  them  towards  the  object  of  my  search,  than 
to  exhibit  that  object  already  accomplished.  I  was  like  the 
Arabian  who  had  been  buried  with  the  dead,  and  found  a 
passage  to  life,  aided  only  by  one  glimmering,  and  seem- 
ingly ineffectual,  light. 

I  see  by  your  eagerness,  and  the  wonder  and  hope  which 
your  eyes  express,  my  friend,  that  you  expect  to  be  in- 
formed of  the  secret  with  which  I  am  acquainted ;  that 
cannot  be :  listen  patiently  until  the  end  of  my  story,  and 
you  will  easily  perceive  why  I  am  reserved  upon  that  sub- 
ject. I  will  not  lead  you  on,  unguarded  and  ardent  as  I 
then  was,  to  your  destruction  and  infallible  misery.  Learn 
from  me,  if  not  by  my  precepts,  at  least  by  my  example, 
how  dangerous  is  the  acquirement  of  knowledge,  and  how 
much  happier  that  man  is  who  believes  his  native  town  to 
be  the  world,  than  he  who  aspires  to  become  greater  than 
his  nature  will  allow. 

When  I  found  so  astonishing  a  power  placed  within  my 
hands,  I  hesitated  a  long  time  concerning  the  manner  in 
which  I  should  employ  it.  Although  I  possessed  the  ca- 
pacity of  bestowing  animation,  yet  to  prepare  a  frame  for 
the  reception  of  it,  with  all  its  intricacies  of  fibres,  muscles^ 
and  veins,  still  remained  a  work  of  inconceivable  difficulty 
and  labour.  I  doubted  at  first  whether  I  should  attempt 
the  creation  of  a  being  like  myself,  or  one  of  simpler  organ- 
ization ;  but  my  imagination  was  too  much  exalted  by  my 
first  success  to  permit  me  to  doubt  of  my  ability  to  give  life 
to  an  animal  as  complex  and  wonderful  as  man.  The 
materials  at  present  within  my  command  hardly  appeared 
adequate  to  so  arduous  an  undertaking ;  but  I  doubted  not 
that  I  should  ultimately  succeed.  I  prepared  myself  for  a 
multitude  of  reverses  ;  my  operations  might  be  incessantly 
baffled,  and  at  last  my  work  be  imperfect:  yet,  when  I 
D  4 


40  FRANKENSTEIN;  OR, 

considered  the  improvement  which  every  day  takes  place  in 
science  and  mechanics,  I  was  encouraged  to  hope  my  pre- 
sent attempts  would  at  least  lay  the  foundations  of  future 
success.  Nor  could  I  consider  the  magnitude  and  com- 
plexity of  my  plan  as  any  argument  of  its  impracticability, 
It  was  with  these  feelings  that  I  began  the  creation  of  a 
human  being.  As  the  minuteness  of  the  parts  formed  a 
great  hinderance  to  my  speed,  I  resolved,,  contrary  to  my 
first  intention,  to  make  the  being  of  a  gigantic  stature;  that 
is  to  say,  about  eight  feet  in  height,  and  proportionably 
large.  After  having  formed  this  determination,  and  having 
spent  some  months  in  successfully  collecting  and  arranging 
my  materials,  I  began. 

No  one  can  conceive  the  variety  of  feelings  which  bore 
me  onwards,  like  a  hurricane,  in  the  first  enthusiasm  of 
success.  Life  and  death  appeared  to  me  ideal  bounds, 
which  I  should  first  break  through,  and  pour  a  torrent  of 
light  into  our  dark  world.  A  new  species  would  bless  me 
as  its  creator  and  source ;  many  happy  and  excellent  na- 
tures would  owe  their  being  to  me.  No  father  could  claim 
the  gratitude  of  his  child  so  completely  as  I  should  deserve 
theirs.  Pursuing  these  reflections,  J  thought,  that  if  I 
could  bestow  animation  upon  lifeless  matter,  I  might  in 
process  of  time  (although  I  now  found  it  impossible)  re- 
new life  where  death  had  apparently  devoted  the  body  to 
corruption. 

These  thoughts  supported  my  spirits,  while  I  pursued 
my  undertaking  with  unremitting  ardour.  My  cheek  had 
grown  pale  with  study,  and  my  person  had  become  ema- 
ciated with  confinement.  Sometimes,  on  the  very  brink  of 
certainty,  I  failed ;  yet  still  I  clung  to  the  hope  which  the 
next  day  or  the  next  hour  might  realise.  One  secret  which 
I  alone  possessed  was  the  hope  to  which  I  had  dedicated 
myself;  and  the  moon  gazed  on  my  midnight  labours, 
while,  with  unrelaxed  and  breathless  eagerness,  I  pursued 
nature  to  her  hiding-places.  Who  shall  conceive  the  horrors 
of  my  secret  toil,  as  I  dabbled  among  the  unhallowed  damps 
of  the  grave,  or  tortured  the  living  animal  to  animate  the 
lifeless  clay  ?  My  limbs  now  tremble,  and  my  eyes  swim 
with  the  remembrance ;  but  then  a  resistless,  and  almost 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  41 

frantic,  impulse,  urged  me  forward ;  I  seemed  to  have  lost 
all  soul  or  sensation  but  for  this  one  pursuit.  It  was  indeed 
but  a  passing  trance,  that  only  made  me  feel  with  renewed 
acuteness  so  soon  as,  the  unnatural  stimulus  ceasing  to 
operate,  I  had  returned  to  my  old  habits.  I  collected  bones 
from  charnel-houses ;  and  disturbed,  with  profane  fingers, 
the  tremendous  secrets  of  the  human  frame.  In  a  solitary 
chamber,  or  rather  cell,  at  the  top  of  the  house,  and  separ- 
ated from  all  the  other  apartments  by  a  gallery  and  stair- 
case, I  kept  my  workshop  of  filthy  creation :  my  eye-balls 
were  starting  from  their  sockets  in  attending  to  the  details 
of  my  employment.  The  dissecting  room  and  the  slaughter- 
house furnished  many  of  my  materials  ;  and  often  did  my 
human  nature  turn  with  loathing  from  my  occupation, 
whilst,  still  urged  on  by  an  eagerness  which  perpetually 
increased,  I  brought  my  work  near  to  a  conclusion. 

The  summer  months  passed  while  I  was  thus  engaged, 
heart  and  soul,  in  one  pursuit.  It  was  a  most  beautiful 
season  ;  never  did  the  fields  bestow  a  more  plentiful  harvest, 
or  the  vines  yield  a  more  luxuriant  vintage :  but  my  eyes 
were  insensible  to  the  charms  of  nature.  And  the  same 
feelingsx  which  made  me  neglect  the  scenes  around  me 
caused  me  also  to  forget  those  friends  who  were  so  many 
miles  absent,  and  whom  I  had  not  seen  for  so  long  a  time. 
I  knew  my  silence  disquieted  them;  and  I  well  remembered 
the  words  of  my  father :  f '  I  know  that  while  you  are  pleased 
with  yourself,  you  will  think  of  us  with  affection,  and  we 
shall  hear  regularly  from  you.  You  must  pardon  me  if  I 
regard  any  interruption  in  your  correspondence  as  a  proof 
that  your  other  duties  are  equally  neglected." 

I  knew  well  therefore  what  would  be  my  father's  feel- 
ings ;  but  I  could  not  tear  my  thoughts  from  my  employ- 
ment, loathsome  in  itself,  but  which  had  taken  an  irre- 
sistible hold  of  my  imagination.  I  wished,  as  it  were,  to 
procrastinate  all  that  related  to  my  feelings  of  affection  until 
the  great  object,  which  swallowed  up  every  habit  of  my 
nature,  should  be  completed. 

I  then  thought  that  my  father  would  be  unjust  if  he 
ascribed  my  neglect  to  vice,  or  faultiness  on  my  part ;  but  I 
am  now  convinced  that  he  was  justified  in  conceiving  that 


42  FRANKENSTEIN  ,'    OK, 

I  should  not  be  altogether  free  from  blame.  A  human 
being  in  perfection  ought  always  to  preserve  a  calm  and 
peaceful  mind,  and  never  to  allow  passion  or  a  transitory 
desire  to  disturb  his  tranquillity.  I  do  not  think  that  the 
pursuit  of  knowledge  is  an  exception  to  this  rule.  If  the 
study  to  which  you  apply  yourself  has  a  tendency  to  weaken 
your  affections,  and  to  destroy  your  taste  for  those  simple 
pleasures  in  which  no  alloy  can  possibly  mix,  then  that 
study  is  certainly  unlawful,  that  is  to  say,  not  befitting  the 
human  mind.  If  this  rule  were  always  observed;  if  no 
man  allowed  any  pursuit  whatsoever  to  interfere  with  the 
tranquillity  of  his  domestic  affections,  Greece  had  not  been 
enslaved  ;  Caesar  would  have  spared  his  country;  America 
would  have  been  discovered  more  gradually;  and  the  em- 
pires of  Mexico  and  Peru  had  not  been  destroyed. 

But  I  forget  that  I  am  moralising  in  the  most  interesting 
part  of  my  tale ;  and  your  looks  remind  me  to  proceed. 

My  father  made  no  reproach  in  his  letters,  and  only  took 
notice  of  my  silence  by  enquiring  into  my  occupations 
more  particularly  than  before.  Winter,  spring,  and  summer 
passed  away  during  my  labours ;  but  I  did  not  watch  the 
blossom  or  the  expanding  leaves  —  sights  which  before 
always  yielded  me  supreme  delight  —  so  deeply  was  I  en- 
grossed in  my  occupation.  The  leaves  of  that  year  had 
withered  before  my  work  drew  near  to  a  close  ;  and  now 
every  day  showed  me  more  plainly  how  well  I  had  suc- 
ceeded. But  my  enthusiasm  was  checked  by  my  anxiety, 
and  I  appeared  rather  like  one  doomed  by  slavery  to  toil  in 
the  mines,  or  any  other  unwholesome  trade,  than  an  artist 
occupied  by  his  favourite  employment.  Every  night  I  was 
oppressed  by  a  slow  fever,  and  I  became  nervous  to  a  most 
painful  degree  ;  the  fall  of  a  leaf  startled  me,  and  I  shunned 
my  fellow- creatures  as  if  I  had  been  guilty  of  a  crime. 
Sometimes  I  grew  alarmed  at  the  wreck  I  perceived  that  I 
had  become  ;  the  energy  of  my  purpose  alone  sustained  me: 
my  labours  would  soon  end,  and  I  believed  that  exercise  and 
amusement  would  then  drive  away  incipient  disease ;  and  I 
promised  myself  both  of  these  when  my  creation  should  be 
complete. 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  43 


CHAPTER  V. 

IT  was  on  a  dreary  night  of  November,  that  I  beheld  the 
accomplishment  of  my  toils.  With  an  anxiety  that  almost 
amounted  to  agony,  I  collected  the  instruments  of  life 
around  me,  that  I  might  infuse  a  spark  of  being  into  the 
lifeless  thing  that  lay  at  my  feet.  It  was  already  one  in 
the  morning  ;  the  rain  pattered  dismally  against  the  panes, 
and  my  candle  was  nearly  burnt  out,  when,  by  the  glimmer 
of  the  half-extinguished  light,  I  saw  the  dull  yellow  eye 
of  the  creature  open ;  it  breathed  hard,  and  a  convulsive 
motion  agitated  its  limbs. 

How  can  I  describe  my  emotions  at  this  catastrophe,  or 
how  delineate  the  wretch  whom  with  such  infinite  pains 
and  care  I  had  endeavoured  to  form  ?  His  limbs  were  in 
proportion,  and  I  had  selected  his  features  as  beautiful. 
Beautiful !  —  Great  God  !  His  yellow  skin  scarcely  covered 
the  work  of  muscles  and  arteries  beneath ;  his  hair  was  of 
a  lustrous  black,  and  flowing ;  his  teeth  of  a  pearly  white- 
ness ;  but  these  luxuriances  only  formed  a  more  horrid 
contrast  with  his  watery  eyes,  that  seemed  almost  of  the 
same  colour  as  the  dun  white  sockets  in  which  they  were 
set,  his  shrivelled  complexion  and  straight  black  lips. 

The  different  accidents  of  life  are  not  so  changeable  as 
the  feelings  of  human  nature.  I  had  worked  hard  for 
nearly  two  years,  for  the  sole  purpose  of  infusing  life  into 
an  inanimate  body.  For  this  I  had  deprived  myself  of  rest 
and  health.  I  had  desired  it  with  an  ardour  that  far  ex- 
ceeded moderation ;  but  now  that  I  had  finished,  the  beauty 
of  the  dream  vanished,  and  breathless  horror  and  disgust 
filled  my  heart.  Unable  to  endure  the  aspect  of  the  being 
I  had  created,  I  rushed  out  of  the  room,  and  continued  a 
long  time  traversing  my  bedchamber,  unable  to  compose  my 
mind  to  sleep.  At  length  lassitude  succeeded  to  the  tumult 
I  had  before  endured ;  and  I  threw  myself  on  the  bed  in 
my  clothes,  endeavouring  to  seek  a  few  moments  of  forget- 
fulness.  But  it  was  in  vain :  I  slept,  indeed,  but  I  was 
disturbed  by  the  wildest  dreams.  I  thought  I  saw  Eliza- 
beth, in  the  bloom  of  health,  walking  in  the  streets  of 


44  FRANKENSTEIN;  OR, 

Ingolstadt.  Delighted  and  surprised,  I  embraced  her ;  but 
as  I  imprinted  the  first  kiss  on  her  lips,  they  became  livid 
with  the  hue  of  death ;  her  features  appeared  to  change, 
and  I  thought  that  I  held  the  corpse  of  my  dead  mother  in 
my  arms ;  a  shroud  enveloped  her  form,  and  I  saw  the 
grave- worms  crawling  in  the  folds  of  the  flannel.  I  started 
from  my  sleep  with  horror ;  a  cold  dew  covered  my  fore- 
head, my  teeth  chattered,  and  every  limb  became  convulsed : 
when,  by  the  dim  and  yellow  light  of  the  moon,  as  it 
forced  its  way  through  the  window  shutters,  I  beheld  the 
wretch  —  the  miserable  monster  whom  I  had  created.  He 
held  up  the  curtain  of  the  bed ;  and  his  eyes,  if  eyes  they 
may  be  called,  were  fixed  on  me.  His  jaws  opened,  and 
he  muttered  some  inarticulate  sounds,  while  a  grin  wrinkled 
his  cheeks.  He  might  have  spoken,  but  I  did  not  hear  ;  one 
hand  was  stretched  out,  seemingly  to  detain  me,  but  I 
escaped,  and  rushed  down  stairs.  I  took  refuge  in  the  court- 
yard belonging  to  the  house  which  I  inhabited ;  where  J 
remained  during  the  rest  of  the  night,  walking  up  and 
down  in  the  greatest  agitation,  listening  attentively,  catch- 
ing and  fearing  each  sound  as  if  it  were  to  announce  the 
approach  of  the  demoniacal  corpse  to  which  I  had  so 
miserably  given  life. 

Oh  !  no  mortal  could  support  the  horror  of  that  counte- 
nance. A  mummy  again  endued  with  animation  could  not 
be  so  hideous  as  that  wretch.  I  had  gazed  on  him  while 
unfinished ;  he  was  ugly  then  ;  but  when  those  muscles  and 
joints  were  rendered  capable  of  motion,  it  became  a  thing 
such  as  even  Dante  could  not  have  conceived. 

I  passed  the  night  wretchedly.  Sometimes  my  pulse 
beat  so  quickly  and  hardly,  that  I  felt  the  palpitation  of 
every  artery;  at  others,  I  nearly  sank  to  the  ground 
through  languor  and  extreme  weakness.  Mingled  with  this 
horror,  I  felt  the  bitterness  of  disappointment ;  dreams  that 
had  been  my  food  and  pleasant  rest  for  so  long  a  space 
were  now  become  a  hell  to  me ;  and  the  change  was  so 
rapid,  the  overthrow  so  complete ! 

Morning,  dismal  and  wet,  at  length  dawned,  and  dis- 
covered to  my  sleepless  and  aching  eyes  the  church  of  In- 
golstadt, its  white  steeple  and  clock,  which  indicated  the 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  45 

sixth  hour.  The  porter  opened  the  gates  of  the  court,  which 
had  that  night  been  my  asylum,  and  I  issued  into  the 
streets,  pacing  them  with  quick  steps,  as  if  I  sought  to 
avoid  the  wretch  whom  I  feared  every  turning  of  the  street 
would  present  to  my  view.  I  did  not  dare  return  to  the 
apartment  which  I  inhabited,  but  felt  impelled  to  hurry  on, 
although  drenched  by  the  rain  which  poured  from  a  black 
and  comfortless  sky. 

I  continued  walking  in  this  manner  for  some  time,  en- 
deavouring, by  bodily  exercise,  to  ease  the  load  that  weighed 
upon  my  mind.  I  traversed  the  streets,  without  any  clear 
conception  of  where  I  was,  or  what  I  was  doing.  My 
heart  palpitated  in  the  sickness  of  fear ;  and  I  hurried  on 
with  irregular  steps,  not  daring  to  look  about  me :  — 

"  Like  one  who,  on  a  lonely  road, 

Doth  walk  in  fear  and  dread, 
And,  having  once  turned  round,  walks  on, 

And  turns  no  more  his  head  ; 
Because  he  knows  a  frightful  fiend 

Doth  close  behind  him  tread."* 

Continuing  thus,  I  came  at  length  opposite  to  the  inn  at 
which  the  various  diligences  and  carriages  usually  stopped. 
Here  I  paused,  I  knew  not  why;  but  I  remained  some  minutes 
with  my  eyes  fixed  on  a  coach  that  was  coming  towards  me 
from  the  other  end  of  the  street.  As  it  drew  nearer,  I  ob- 
served that  it  was  the  Swiss  diligence :  it  stopped  just  where 
I  was  standing;  and,  on  the  door  being  opened,  I  perceived 
Henry  Clerval,  who,  on  seeing  me,  instantly  sprung  out. 
"  My  dear  Frankenstein,"  exclaimed  he,  "  how  glad  I  am 
to  see  you !  how  fortunate  that  you  should  be  here  at  the 
very  moment  of  my  alighting  !" 

Nothing  could  equal  my  delight  on  seeing  Clerval ;  his 
presence  brought  back  to  my  thoughts  my  father,  Eliza- 
beth, and  all  those  scenes  of  home  so  dear  to  my  recollec- 
tion. I  grasped  his  hand,  and  in  a  moment  forgot  my 
horror  and  misfortune ;  I  felt  suddenly,  and  for  the  first 
time  during  many  months,  calm  and  serene  joy.  I  wel- 
comed my  friend,  therefore,  in  the  most  cordial  manner, 
and  we  walked  towards  my  college.  Clerval  continued 
talking  for  some  time  about  our  mutual  friends,  and  his  own 

»  Coleridge's  "  Ancient  Mariner." 


46  FRANKENSTEIN;  OB, 

good  fortune  in  being  permitted  to  come  to  Ingolstadt. c '  You 
may  easily  believe,"  said  he,  ((  how  great  was  the  diffi- 
culty to  persuade  my  father  that  all  necessary  knowledge 
was  not  comprised  in  the  noble  art  of  book-keeping ;  and, 
indeed,  I  believe  I  left  him  incredulous  to  the  last,  for  his 
constant  answer  to  my  unwearied  entreaties  was  the  same 
as  that  of  the  Dutch  schoolmaster  in  the  Vicar  of  Wake- 
field  :  — '  I  have  ten  thousand  florins  a  year  without 
Greek,  I  eat  heartily  without  Greek/  But  his  affection 
for  me  at  length  overcame  his  dislike  of  learning,  and  he 
has  permitted  me  to  undertake  a  voyage  of  discovery  to  the 
land  of  knowledge." 

"  It  gives  me  the  greatest  delight  to  see  you  ;  but  tell 
me  how  you  left  my  father,  brothers,  and  Elizabeth." 

"  Very  well,  and  very  happy,  only  a  little  uneasy  that 
they  hear  from  you  so  seldom.  By  the  by,  I  mean  to 
lecture  you  a  little  upon  their  account  myself.  —  But,  my 
dear  Frankenstein,"  continued  he,  stopping  short,  and  gazing 
full  in  my  face,  f(  I  did  not  before  remark  how  very  ill  you 
appear ;  so  thin  and  pale ;  you  look  as  if  you  had  been 
watching  for  several  nights." 

"  You  have  guessed  right  ;  I  have  lately  been  so  deeply 
engaged  in  one  occupation,  that  I  have  not  allowed  myself 
sufficient  rest,  as  you  see  :  but  I  hope,  I  sincerely  hope, 
that  all  these  employments  are  now  at  an  end,  and  that  I 
am  at  length  free." 

I  trembled  excessively ;  I  could  not  endure  to  think  of, 
and  far  less  to  allude  to,  the  occurrences  of  the  preceding 
night.  I  walked  with  a  quick  pace,  and  we  soon  arrived 
at  my  college.  I  then  reflected,  and  the  thought  made  me 
shiver,  that  the  creature  whom  I  had  left  in  my  apartment 
might  still  be  there,  alive,  and  walking  about.  I  dreaded 
to  behold  this  monster ;  but  I  feared  still  more  that  Henry 
should  see  him.  Entreating  him,  therefore,  to  remain  a 
few  minutes  at  the  bottom  of  the  stairs,  I  darted  up  towards 
my  own  room.  My  hand  was  already  on  the  lock  of  the 
door  before  I  recollected  myself.  I  then  paused ;  and  a 
cold  shivering  came  over  me.  I  threw  the  door  forcibly 
Open,  as  children  are  accustomed  to  do  when  they  expect  a 
spectre  to  stand  in  waiting  for  them  on  the  other  side;  but 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  47 

nothing  appeared.  I  stepped  fearfully  in :  the  apartment 
was  empty  ;  and  my  bed-room  was  also  freed  from  its 
hideous  guest.  I  could  hardly  believe  that  so  great  a  good 
fortune  could  have  befallen  me ;  but  when  I  became  assured 
that  my  enemy  had  indeed  fled,  I  clapped  my  hands  for 
joy,  and  ran  down  to  Clerval. 

We  ascended  into  my  room,  and  the  servant  presently 
brought  breakfast;  but  I  was  unable  to  contain  myself.  It 
was  not  joy  only  that  possessed  me ;  I  felt  my  flesh  tingle 
with  excess  of  sensitiveness,  and  my  pulse  beat  rapidly.  I 
was  unable  to  remain  for  a  single  instant  in  the  same  place; 
I  jumped  over  the  chairs,  clapped  my  hands,  and  laughed 
aloud.  Clerval  at  first  attributed  my  unusual  spirits  to  joy 
on  his  arrival ;  but  when  he  observed  me  more  attentively, 
he  saw  a  wildness  in  my  eyes  for  which  he  could  not  ac- 
count; and  my  loud,  unrestrained,  heartless  laughter,  fright- 
ened and  astonished  him. 

"  My  dear  Victor,"  cried  he,  (c  what,  for  God's  sake,  is 
the  matter  ?  Do  not  laugh  in  that  manner.  How  ill  you 
are  !  What  is  the  cause  of  all  this  ?  " 

"  Do  not  ask  me,"  cried  I,  putting  my  hands  before  my 
eyes,  for  I  thought  I  saw  the  dreaded  spectre  glide  into  the 
room  ;  "  he  can  tell.  —  Oh,  save  me  !  save  me  !"  I  ima- 
gined that  the  monster  seized  me ;  I  struggled  furiously, 
and  fell  down  in  a  fit. 

Poor  Clerval !  what  must  have  been  his  feelings  ?  A 
meeting,  which  he  anticipated  with  such  joy,  so  strangely 
turned  to  bitterness.  But  I  was  not  the  witness  of  his 
grief ;  for  I  was  lifeless,  and  did  not  recover  my  senses  for 
a  long,  long  time. 

This  was  the  commencement  of  a  nervous  fever,  which 
confined  me  for  several  months.  During  all  that  time 
Henry  was  my  only  nurse.  I  afterwards  learned  that, 
knowing  my  father's  advanced  age,  and  unfitness  for  so 
long  a  journey,  and  how  wretched  my  sickness  would  make 
Elizabeth,  he  spared  them  this  grief  by  concealing  the  ex- 
tent of  my  disorder.  He  knew  that  I  could  not  have  a 
more  kind  and  attentive  nurse  than  himself;  and,  firm  in 
the  hope  he  felt  of  my  recovery,  he  did  not  doubt  that, 
instead  of  doing  harm,  he  performed  the  kindest  action  that 
he  could  towards  them. 


48  FRANKENSTEIN  j    OR, 

But  I  was  in  reality  very  ill ;  and  surely  nothing  but  the 
unbounded  and  unremitting  attentions  of  my  friend  could 
have  restored  me  to  life.  The  form  of  the  monster  on 
whom  I  had  bestowed  existence  was  for  ever  before  my  eyes, 
and  I  raved  incessantly  concerning  him.  Doubtless  my 
words  surprised  Henry :  he  at  first  believed  them  to  be  the 
wanderings  of  my  disturbed  imagination  ;  but  the  pertina- 
city with  which  I  continually  recurred  to  the  same  subject, 
persuaded  him  that  my  disorder  indeed  owed  its  origin  to 
some  uncommon  and  terrible  event. 

By  very  slow  degrees,  and  with  frequent  relapses,  that 
alarmed  and  grieved  my  friend,  I  recovered.  I  remember 
the  first  time  I  became  capable  of  observing  outward  objects 
with  any  kind  of  pleasure,  I  perceived  that  the  fallen  leaves 
had  disappeared,  and  that  the  young  buds  were  shooting 
forth  from  the  trees  that  shaded  my  window.  It  was  a 
divine  spring ;  and  the  season  contributed  greatly  to  my 
convalescence.  I  felt  also  sentiments  of  joy  and  affection 
revive  in  my  bosom ;  my  gloom  disappeared,  and  in  a  short 
time  I  became  as  cheerful  as  before  I  was  attacked  by  the 
fatal  passion. 

{f  Dearest  Clerval,"  exclaimed  I,  "  how  kind,  how  very 
good  you  are  to  me.  This  whole  winter,  instead  of  being 
spent  in  study,  as  you  promised  yourself,  has  been  con- 
sumed in  my  sick  room.  How  shall  I  ever  repay  you  ?  I 
feel  the  greatest  remorse  for  the  disappointment  of  which  I 
have  been  the  occasion ;  but  you  will  forgive  me." 

"  You  will  repay  me  entirely,  if  you  do  not  discompose 
yourself,  but  get  well  as  fast  as  you  can  j  and  since  you 
appear  in  such  good  spirits,  I  may  speak  to  you  on  one 
subject,  may  I  not?" 

I  trembled.  One  subject !  what  could  it  be  ?  Could  he 
allude  to  an  object  on  whom  I  dared  not  even  think  ? 

"  Compose  yourself,"  said  Clerval,  who  observed  my 
change  of  colour,  "  I  will  not  mention  it,  if  it  agitates  you; 
but  your  father  and  cousin  would  be  very  happy  if  they 
received  a  letter  from  you  in  your  own  hand-writing. 
They  hardly  know  how  ill  you  have  been,  and  are  uneasy 
at  your  long  silence." 
i,  "  Is  that  all,  my  dear  Henry  ?  How  could  you  suppose 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  49 

that  my  first  thought  would  not  fly  towards  those  dear, 
dear  friends  whom  I  love,,  and  who  are  so  deserving  of  my 
love." 

' '  If  this  is  your  present  temper,  my  friend,  you  will  per- 
haps be  glad  to  see  a  letter  that  has  been  lying  here  some 
days  for  you :  it  is  from  your  cousin,  I  believe." 


CHAPTER  VI. 

CLERVAL  then  put  the  following  letter  into  my  hands.     It 
was  from  my  own  Elizabeth :  — 

Ci  My  dearest  Cousin, 

"  You  have  been  ill,  very  ill,  and  even  the  constant  letters 
of  dear  kind  Henry  are  not  sufficient  to  reassure  me  on  your 
account.  You  are  forbidden  to  write  —  to  hold  a  pen ;  yet 
one  word  from  you,  dear  Victor,  is  necessary  to  calm  our 
apprehensions.  For  a  long  time  I  have  thought  that  each 
post  would  bring  this  line,  and  my  persuasions  have 
restrained  my  uncle  from  undertaking  a  journey  to  Ingol- 
stadt.  I  have  prevented  his  encountering  the  inconveni- 
ences and  perhaps  dangers  of  so  long  a  journey ;  yet  how 
often  have  I  regretted  not  being  able  to  perform  it  myself! 
I  figure  to  myself  that  the  task  of  attending  on  your  sick 
bed  has  devolved  on  some  mercenary  old  nurse,  who  could 
never  guess  your  wishes,  nor  minister  to  them  with  the 
care  and  affection  of  your  poor  cousin.  Yet  that  is  over 
now  :  Clerval  writes  that  indeed  you  are  getting  better.  I 
eagerly  hope  that  you  will  confirm  this  intelligence  soon  in 
your  own  handwriting. 

"  Get  well — and  return  to  us.  You  will  find  a  happy, 
cheerful  home,  and  friends  who  love  you  dearly.  Your 
father's  health  is  vigorous,  and  he  asks  but  to  see  you, — - 
but  to  be  assured  that  you  are  well ;  and  not  a  care  will 
ever  cloud  his  benevolent  countenance.  How  pleased  you 
would  be  to  remark  the  improvement  of  our  Ernest !  He 
is  now  sixteen,  and  full  of  activity  and  spirit.  He  is  de- 
sirous to  be  a  true  Swiss,  and  to  enter  into  foreign  service  ; 


50  FRANKENSTEIN  ;    OB, 

but  we  cannot  part  with  him,  at  least  until  his  elder  bro- 
ther return  to  us.  My  uncle  is  not  pleased  with  the  idea 
of  a  military  career  in  a  distant  country ;  but  Ernest  never 
had  your  powers  of  application.  He  looks  upon  study  as 
an  odious  fetter; — his  time  is  spent  in  the  open  air,  climb- 
ing the  hills  or  rowing  on  the  lake.  I  fear  that  he  will  be- 
come an  idler,  unless  we  yield  the  point,  and  permit  him  to 
enter  on  the  profession  which  he  has  selected. 

' ( Little  alteration,  except  the  growth  of  our  dear  chil- 
dren, has  taken  place  since  you  left  us.  The  blue  lake,  and 
snow-clad  mountains,  they  never  change;  —  and  I  think 
our  placid  home,  and  our  contented  hearts  are  regulated  by 
the  same  immutable  laws.  My  trifling  occupations  take  up 
my  time  and  amuse  me,  and  I  am  rewarded  for  any  exer- 
tions by  seeing  none  but  happy,  kind  faces  around  me. 
Since  you  left  us,  but  one  change  has  taken  place  in  our 
little  household.  Do  you  remember  on  what  occasion  Jus- 
tine Moritz  entered  our  family  ?  Probably  you  do  not ;  I 
will  relate  her  history,  therefore,  in  a  few  words.  Madame 
Moritz,  her  mother,  was  a  widow  with  four  children,  of 
whom  Justine  was  the  third.  This  girl  had  always  been 
the  favourite  of  her  father ;  but,  through  a  strange  per- 
versity, her  mother  could  not  endure  her,  and,  after  the 
death  of  M.  Moritz,  treated  her  very  ill.  My  aunt  observed 
this ;  and,  when  Justine  was  twelve  years  of  age,  prevailed 
on  her  mother  to  allow  her  to  live  at  our  house.  The 
republican  institutions  of  our  country  have  produced 
simpler  and  happier  manners  than  those  which  prevail  in 
the  great  monarchies  that  surround  it.  Hence  there  is  less 
distinction  between  the  several  classes  of  its  inhabitants  ; 
and  the  lower  orders,  being  neither  so  poor  nor  so  despised, 
their  manners  are  more  refined  and  moral.  A  servant  in 
Geneva  does  not  mean  the  same  thing  as  a  servant  in  France 
and  England.  Justine,  thus  received  in  our  family,  learned 
the  duties  of  a  servant;  a  condition  which,  in  our  for- 
tunate country,  does  not  include  the  idea  of  ignorance, 
and  a  sacrifice  of  the  dignity  of  a  human  being. 

"  Justine,  you  may  remember,  was  a  great  favourite  of 
yours ;  and  I  recollect  you  once  remarked,  that  if  you  were 
in  an  ill-humour,  one  glance  from  Justine  could  dissipate 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  51 

it,  for  the  same  reason  that  Ariosto  gives  concerning  the 
beauty  of  Angelica  —  she  looked  so  frank-hearted  and  happy. 
My  aunt  conceived  a  great  attachment  for  her,  hy  which  she 
was  induced  to  give  her  an  education  superior  to  that 
which  she  had  at  first  intended.  This  benefit  was  fully 
repaid ;  Justine  was  the  most  grateful  little  creature  in  the 
world  :  I  do  not  mean  that  she  made  any  professions ;  I 
never  heard  one  pass  her  lips  ;  but  you  could  see  by  her 
eyes  that  she  almost  adored  her  protectress.  Although  her 
disposition  was  gay,  and  in  many  respects  inconsiderate, 
yet  she  paid  the  greatest  attention  to  every  gesture  of  my 
aunt.  She  thought  her  the  model  of  all  excellence,  and 
endeavoured  to  imitate  her  phraseology  and  manners,  so 
that  even  now  she  often  reminds  me  of  her. 

"  When  my  dearest  aunt  died,  every  one  was  too  much 
occupied  in  their  own  grief  to  notice  poor  Justine,  who  had 
attended  her  during  her  illness  with  the  most  anxious  affec- 
tion. Poor  Justine  was  very  ill ;  but  other  trials  were  re- 
served for  her. 

"  One  by  one,  her  brothers  and  sister  died ;  and  her 
mother,  with  the  exception  of  her  neglected  daughter,  was 
left  childless.  The  conscience  of  the  woman  was  troubled  ; 
she  began  to  think  that  the  deaths  of  her  favourites  was  a 
judgment  from  heaven  to  chastise  her  partiality.  She  was 
a  Roman  catholic ;  and  I  believe  her  confessor  confirmed 
the  idea  which  she  had  conceived.  Accordingly,  a  few 
months  after  your  departure  for  Ingolstadt,  Justine  was 
called  home  by  her  repentant  mother.  Poor  girl  !  she  wept 
when  she  quitted  our  house  j  she  was  much  altered  since 
the  death  of  my  aunt ;  grief  had  given  softness  and  a  win- 
ning mildness  to  her  manners,  which  had  before  been  re- 
markable for  vivacity.  Nor  was  her  residence  at  her 
mother's  house  of  a  nature  to  restore  her  gaiety.  The 
poor  woman  was  very  vacillating  in  her  repentance.  She 
sometimes  begged  Justine  to  forgive  her  unkindness,  but 
much  oftener  accused  her  of  having  caused  the  deaths  of 
her  brothers  and  sister.  Perpetual  fretting  at  length  threw 
Madame  Moritz  into  a  decline,  which  at  first  increased  her 
irritability,  but  she  is  now  at  peace  for  ever.  She  died  on 
the  first  approach  of  cold  weather,  at  the  beginning  of  this 

H    2 


52  FRANKENSTEIN;  OK, 

last  winter.  Justine  has  returned  to  us ;  and  I  assure  you 
I  love  her  tenderly.  She  is  very  clever  and  gentle,  and 
extremely  pretty  ;  as  I  mentioned  before,  her  mien  and 
her  expressions  continually  remind  me  of  my  dear  aunt. 

"  I  must  say  also  a  few  words  to  you,  my  dear  cousin, 
of  little  darling  William.  I  wish  you  could  see  him  ;  he  is 
very  tall  of  his  age,  with  sweet  laughing  hlue  eyes,  dark 
eyelashes,  and  curling  hair.  When  he  smiles,  two  little 
dimples  appear  on  each  cheek,  which  are  rosy  with  health. 
He  has  already  had  one  or  two  little  wives,  but  Louisa 
Biron  is  his  favourite,  a  pretty  little  girl  of  five  years  of 
age. 

"  Now,  dear  Victor,  I  dare  say  you  wish  to  be  indulged 
in  a  little  gossip  concerning  the  good  people  of  Geneva. 
The  pretty  Miss  Mansfield  has  already  received  the  con- 
gratulatory visits  on  her  approaching  marriage  with  a 
young  Englishman,,  John  Melbourne,  Esq.  Her  ugly 
sister,  Manon,  married  M.  Duvillard,  the  rich  banker,  last 
autumn.  Your  favourite  schoolfellow,  Louis  Manoir,  has 
suffered  several  misfortunes  since  the  departure  of  Clerval 
from  Geneva.  But  he  has  already  recovered  his  spirits, 
and  is  reported  to  be  on  the  point  of  marrying  a  very  lively 
pretty  Frenchwoman,  Madame  Tavernier.  She  is  a  widow, 
and  much  older  than  Manoir ;  but  she  is  very  much  admired, 
and  a  favourite  with  everybody. 

<f  I  have  written  myself  into  better  spirits,  dear  cousin  ; 
but  my  anxiety  returns  upon  me  as  I  conclude.  Write, 
dearest  Victor,  —  one  line — one  word  will  be  a  blessing  to 
us.  Ten  thousand  thanks  to  Henry  for  his  kindness,  his 
affection,  and  his  many  letters :  we  are  sincerely  grateful. 
Adieu!  my  cousin;  take  care  of  yourself ;  and,  I  entreat  you, 
write ! 

"  ELIZABETH  LAVENZA. 
"Geneva,  March  18th,  17 — ." 

"  Dear,  dear  Elizabeth  ! "  I  exclaimed,  when  I  had  read 
her  letter,  "  I  will  write  instantly,  and  relieve  them  from 
the  anxiety  they  must  feel."  I  wrote,  and  this  exertion 
greatly  fatigued  me  ;  but  my  convalescence  had  commenced, 
and  proceeded  regularly.  In  another  fortnight  I  was  able 
to  leave  my  chamber. 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  53 

One  of  my  first  duties  on  my  recovery  was  to  introduce 
Clerval  to  the  several  professors  of  the  university.  In  doing 
this,  I  underwent  a  kind  of  rough  usage,  ill  befitting  the 
wounds  that  my  mind  had  sustained.  Ever  since  the  fatal 
night,  the  end  of  my  labours,  and  the  beginning  of  my 
misfortunes,  I  had  conceived  a  violent  antipathy  even  to 
the  name  of  natural  philosophy.  When  I  was  otherwise 
quite  restored  to  health,  the  sight  of  a  chemical  instrument 
would  renew  all  the  agony  of 'my  nervous  symptoms.  Henry 
saw  this,  and  had  removed  all  my  apparatus  from  my  view. 
He  had  also  changed  my  apartment ;  for  he  perceived 
that  I  had  acquired  a  dislike  for  the  room  which  had  pre- 
viously been  my  laboratory.  But  these  cares  of  Clerval 
were  made  of  no  avail  when  I  visited  the  professors. 
M.  Waldman  inflicted  torture  when  he  praised,  with  kind- 
ness and  warmth,,  the  astonishing  progress  I  had  made  in 
the  sciences.  He  soon  perceived  that  I  disliked  the  sub- 
ject ;  but  not  guessing  the  real  cause,  he  attributed  my 
feelings  to  modesty,  and  changed  the  subject  from  my  im- 
provement, to  the  science  itself,  with  a  desire,  as  I  evidently 
saw,  of  drawing  me  out.  What  could  I  do  ?  He  meant  to 
please,  and  he  tormented  me.  I  felt  as  if  he  had  placed 
carefully,  one  by  one,  in  my  view  those  instruments  which 
were  to  be  afterwards  used  in  putting  me  to  a  slow  and 
cruel  death.  I  writhed  under  his  words,  yet  dared  not 
exhibit  the  pain  I  felt.  Clerval,  whose  eyes  and  feelings 
were  always  quick  in  discerning  the  sensations  of  others, 
declined  the  subject,  alleging,  in  excuse,  his  total  ignorance; 
and  the  conversation  took  a  more  general  turn.  I  thanked 
my  friend  from  my  heart,  but  I  did  not  speak.  I  saw 
plainly  that  he  was  surprised,  but  he  never  attempted  to 
draw  my  secret  from  me ;  and  although  I  loved  him  with 
a  mixture  of  affection  and  reverence  that  knew  no  bounds, 
yet  1  could  never  persuade  myself  to  confide  to  him  that 
event  which  was  so  often  present  to  my  recollection,  but 
which  I  feared  the  detail  to  another  would  only  impress 
more  deeply. 

M.  Krempe  was  not  equally  docile  ;  and  in  my  condition 
at  that  time,  of  almost  insupportable  sensitiveness,  his  harsh 
blunt  encomiums  gave  me  even  more  pain  than  the  bene- 
E  3 


54?  FRANKENSTEIN  ;    OK, 

volent  approbation  of  M.  Waldman.  "  D — n  the  fellow  I" 
cried  he  ;  "  why,  M.  Clerval,  I  assure  you  he  has  outstript 
us  all.  Ay,  stare  if  you  please  ;  but  it  is  nevertheless  true. 
A  youngster  who,  but  a  few  years  ago,  believed  in  Corne- 
lius Agrippa  as  firmly  as  in  the  gospel,  has  now  set  himself 
at  the  head  of  the  university  ;  and  if  he  is  not  soon  pulled 
down,  we  shall  all  be  out  of  countenance.  —  Ay,  ay,"  con- 
tinued he,  observing  my  face  expressive  of  suffering,  "  M. 
Frankenstein  is  modest ;  an  excellent  quality  in  a  young 
man.  Young  men  should  be  diffident  of  themselves,  you 
know,  M.  Clerval :  I  was  myself  when  young ;  but  that 
wears  out  in  a  very  short  time." 

M.  Krempe  had  now  commenced  an  eulogy  on  himself, 
which  happily  turned  the  conversation  from  a  subject  that 
was  so  annoying  to  me. 

Clerval  had  never  sympathised  in  my  tastes  for  natural 
science ;  and  his  literary  pursuits  differed  wholly  from  those 
which  had  occupied  me.  He  came  to  the  university  with 
the  design  of  making  himself  complete  master  of  the  oriental 
languages,  as  thus  he  should  open  a  field  for  the  plan  of  life 
he  had  marked  out  for  himself.  Resolved  to  pursue  no 
inglorious  career,  he  turned  his  eyes  toward  the  East,  as 
affording  scope  for  his  spirit  of  enterprise.  The  Persian, 
Arabic,  and  Sanscrit  languages  engaged  his  attention,  and 
I  was  easily  induced  to  enter  on  the  same  studies.  Idleness 
had  ever  been  irksome  to  me,  and  now  that  I  wished  to  fly 
from  reflection,  and  hated  my  former  studies,  I  felt  great- 
relief  in  being  the  fellow-pupil  with  my  friend,  and  found 
not  only  instruction  but  consolation  in  the  works  of  the 
orientalists.  I  did  not,  like  him,  attempt  a  critical  know- 
ledge of  their  dialects,  for  I  did  not  contemplate  making 
any  other  use  of  them  than  temporary  amusement.  I  read 
merely  to  understand  their  meaning,  and  they  well  repaid 
my  labours.  Their  melancholy  is  soothing,  and  their  joy 
elevating,  to  a  degree  I  never  experienced  in  studying  the 
authors  of  any  other  country.  When  you  read  their  writ- 
ings, life  appears  to  consist  in  a  warm  sun  and  a  garden  of 
roses,  —  in  the  smiles  and  frowns  of  a  fair  enemy,  and  the 
fire  that  consumes  your  own  heart.  How  different  from 
the  manly  and  hejroical  poetry  of  Greece  and  Rome  ! 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  55 

Summer  passed  away  in  these  occupations,  and  my  re- 
turn to  Geneva  was  fixed  for  the  latter  end  of  autumn  ; 
but  being  delayed  by  several  accidents,  winter  and  snow 
arrived,  the  roads  were  deemed  impassable,  and  my  journey 
was  retarded  until  the  ensuing  spring.  I  felt  this  delay 
very  bitterly;  for  I  longed  to  see  my  native  town  and  my 
beloved  friends.  My  return  had  only  been  delayed  so  long, 
from  an  unwillingness  to  leave  Clerval  in  a  strange  place, 
before  he  had  become  acquainted  with  any  of  its  inhabitants. 
The  winter,  however,  was  spent  cheerfully;  and  although 
the  spring  was  uncommonly  late,  when  it  came  its  beauty 
compensated  for  its  dilatoriness. 

The  month  of  May  had  already  commenced,  and  I  ex- 
pected the  letter  daily  which  was  to  fix  the  date  of  my 
departure,  when  Henry  proposed  a  pedestrian  tour  in  the 
environs  of  Ingolstadt,  that  I  might  bid  a  personal  farewell 
to  the  country  I  had  so  long  inhabited.  I  acceded  with 
pleasure  to  this  proposition :  I  was  fond  of  exercise,  and 
Clerval  had  always  been  my  favourite  companion  in  the 
rambles  of  this  nature  that  I  had  taken  among  the  scenes 
of  my  native  country. 

We  passed  a  fortnight  in  these  perambulations :  my 
health  and  spirits  had  long  been  restored,  and  they  gained 
additional  strength  from  the  salubrious  air  I  breathed,  the 
natural  incidents  of  our  progress,  and  the  conversation  of 
my  friend.  Study  had  before  secluded  me  from  the  inter- 
course of  my  fellow-creatures,  and  rendered  me  unsocial  ; 
but  Clerval  called  forth  the  better  feelings  of  my  heart ;  he 
again  taught  me  to  love  the  aspect  of  nature,  and  the 
cheerful  faces  of  children.  Excellent  friend  !  how  sin- 
cerely did  you  love  me,  and  endeavour  to  elevate  my  mind 
until  it  was  on  a  level  with  your  own  !  A  selfish  pursuit 
had  cramped  and  narrowed  me,  until  your  gentleness  and 
affection  warmed  and  opened  my  senses  ;  I  became  the  same 
happy  creature  who,  a  few  years  ago,  loved  and  beloved  by 
all,  had  no  sorrow  or  care.  When  happy,  inanimate 
nature  had  the  power  of  bestowing  on  me  the  most  de- 
lightful sensations.  A  serene  sky  and  verdant  fields  filled 
me  with  ecstasy.  The  present  season  was  indeed  divine  ; 
the  flowers  of  spring  bloomed  in  the  hedges,  while  those 
E  4 


56  FRANKENSTEIN;  OB, 

of  summer  were  already  in  bud.  I  was  undisturbed  by 
thoughts  which  during  the  preceding  year  had  pressed  upon 
me,  notwithstanding  my  endeavours  to  throw  them  off, 
with  an  invincible  burden. 

Henry  rejoiced  in  my  gaiety,  and  sincerely  sympathised 
in  my  feelings  :  he  exerted  himself  to  amuse  me,  while  he 
expressed  the  sensations  that  filled  his  soul.  The  resources 
of  his  mind  on  this  occasion  were  truly  astonishing  :  his 
conversation  was  full  of  imagination  ;  and  very  often,  in 
imitation  of  the  Persian  and  Arabic  writers,  he  invented 
tales  of  wonderful  fancy  and  passion.  At  other  times  he 
repeated  my  favourite  poems,  or  drew  me  out  into  argu- 
ments, which  he  supported  with  great  ingenuity. 

We  returned  to  our  college  on  a  Sunday  afternoon  :  the 
peasants  were  dancing,  and  every  one  we  met  appeared  gay 
and  happy.  My  own  spirits  were  high,  and  I  bounded 
along  with  feelings  of  unbridled  joy  and  hilarity. 


CHAPTER  VII. 

ON  my  return,    I    found    the   following  letter  from  my 
father  :  — 

"  My  dear  Victor, 

ff  You  have  probably  waited  impatiently  for  a  letter  to  fix 
the  date  of  your  return  to  us ;  and  I  was  at  first  tempted  to 
write  only  a  few  lines,  merely  mentioning  the  day  on  which 
I  should  expect  you.  But  that  would  be  a  cruel  kindness, 
and  I  dare  not  do  it.  What  would  be  your  surprise,  my  son, 
when  you  expected  a  happy  and  glad  welcome,  to  behold,  on 
the  contrary,  tears  and  wretchedness  ?  And  how,  Victor,  can  I 
relate  our  misfortune  ?  Absence  cannot  have  rendered  you 
callous  to  our  joys  and  griefs  ;  and  how  shall  I  inflict  pain 
on  my  long  absent  son  ?  I  wish  to  prepare  you  for  the  woful 
news,  but  I  know  it  is  impossible;  even  now  your  eye 
skims  over  the  page,  to  seek  the  words  which  are  to  convey 
to  you  the  horrible  tidings. 

' '  William  is  dead  !  —  that  sweet  child,  whose  smiles  de- 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  57 

lighted  and  warmed  my  heart,  who  was  so  gentle,  yet  so 
gay  !  Victor,  he  is  murdered  ! 

"  I  will  not  attempt  to  console  you ;  but  will  simply 
relate  the  circumstances  of  the  transaction. 

"  Last  Thursday  (May  7th),  I,  my  niece,  and  your  two 
brothers,  went  to  walk  in  Plainpalais.  The  evening  was 
warm  and  serene,  and  we  prolonged  our  walk  farther  than 
usual.  It  was  already  dusk  before  we  thought  of  returning; 
and  then  we  discovered  that  William  and  Ernest,  who  had 
gone  on  before,  were  not  to  be  found.  We  accordingly 
rested  on  a  seat  until  they  should  return.  Presently  Ernest 
came,  and  enquired  if  we  had  seen  his  brother  :  he  said, 
that  he  had  been  playing  with  him,  that  William  had  run 
away  to  hide  himself,  and  that  he  vainly  sought  for  him, 
and  afterwards  waited  for  him  a  long  time,  but  that  he  did 
not  return. 

"This  account  rather  alarmed  us,  and  we  continued 
to  search  for  him  until  night  fell,  when  Elizabeth  con- 
jectured that  he  might  have  returned  to  the  house.  He 
was  not  there.  We  returned  again,  with  torches  ;  for  I  could 
not  rest,  when  I  thought  that  my  sweet  boy  had  lost  him- 
self, and  was  exposed  to  all  the  damps  and  dews  of  night  ; 
Elizabeth  also  suffered  extreme  anguish.  About  five  in  the 
morning  I  discovered  my  lovely  boy,  whom  the  night 
before  I  had  seen  blooming  and  active  in  health,  stretched 
on  the  grass  livid  and  motionless :  the  print  of  the  mur- 
derer's finger  was  on  his  neck. 

"  He  was  conveyed  home,  and  the  anguish  that  was 
visible  in  my  countenance  betrayed  the  secret  to  Elizabeth. 
She  was  very  earnest  to  see  the  corpse.  At  first  I  attempted 
to  prevent  her ;  but  she  persisted,  and  entering  the  room 
where  it  lay,  hastily  examined  the  neck  of  the  victim,  and 
clasping  her  hands  exclaimed,  '  O  God !  I  have  murdered 
my  darling  child!' 

"  She  fainted,  and  was  restored  with  extreme  difficulty. 
When  she  again  lived,  it  was  only  to  weep  and  sigh.  She 
told  me,  that  that  same  evening  William  had  teased  her  to 
let  him  wear  a  very  valuable  miniature  that  she  possessed 
of  your  mother.  This  picture  is  gone,  and  was  doubtless 
the  temptation  which  urged  the  murderer  to  the  deed.  We 


58  FRANKENSTEIN  j    OR, 

have  no  trace  of  him  at  present,  although  our  exertions  to 
discover  him  are  unremitted  ;  but  they  will  not  restore  my 
beloved  William  ! 

"  Come,  dearest  Victor  j  you  alone  can  console  Eliza- 
beth. She  weeps  continually,  and  accuses  herself  unjustly 
as  the  cause  of  his  death  ;  her  words  pierce  my  heart.  We 
are  all  unhappy  ;  but  will  not  that  be  an  additional  motive 
for  you,  my  son,,  to  return  and  be  our  comforter  ?  Your 
dear  mother  !  Alas,  Victor  !  I  now  say,  Thank  God  she 
did  not  live  to  witness  the  cruel,  miserable  death  of  her 
youngest  darling  ! 

"  Come,  Victor;  not  brooding  thoughts  of  vengeance  against 
the  assassin,  but  with  feelings  of  peace  and  gentleness,  that 
will  heal,  instead  of  festering,  the  wounds  of  our  minds. 
Enter  the  house  of  mourning,  my  friend,  but  with  kindness 
and  affection  for  those  who  love  you,  and  not  with  hatred 
for  your  enemies. 

"  Your  affectionate  and  afflicted  father, 

"  ALPHONSE  FRANKENSTEIN. 
"  Geneva,  May  12th,  17  —  " 

Clerval,  who  had  watched  my  countenance  as  I  read  this 
letter,  was  surprised  to  observe  the  despair  that  succeeded 
to  the  joy  I  at  first  expressed  on  receiving  news  from  my 
friends.  I  threw  the  letter  on  the  table,  and  covered  my 
face  with  my  hands. 

"My  dear  Frankenstein,"  exclaimed  Henry,  when  he 
perceived  me  weep  with  bitterness,  "  are  you  always  to  be 
unhappy  ?  My  dear  friend,  what  has  happened  ?  " 

I  motioned  to  him  to  take  up  the  letter,  while  I  walked 
up  and  down  the  room  in  the  extremest  agitation.  Tears 
also  gushed  from  the  eyes  of  Clerval,  as  he  read  the  account 
of  my  misfortune. 

<e  I  can  offer  you  no  consolation,  my  friend,"  said  he  ; 
Cf  your  disaster  is  irreparable.  What  do  you  intend  to 


"  To  go  instantly  to  Geneva  :  come  with  me,  Henry,  to 
order  the  horses." 

During  our  walk,  Clerval  endeavoured  to  say  a  few 
words  of  consolation  ;  he  could  only  express  his  heartfelt 
sympathy.  "  Poor  William  !"  said  he,  "  dear  lovely  child, 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  59 

he  now  sleeps  with  his  angel  mother !  Who  that  had  seen  him 
hright  and  joyous  in  his  young  beauty,  but  must  weep  over 
his  untimely  loss  !  To  die  so  miserably  ;  to  feel  the  mur- 
derer's grasp  !  How  much  more  a  murderer,  that  could 
destroy  such  radiant  innocence  !  Poor  little  fellow  !  one 
only  consolation  have  we;  his  friends  mourn  and  weep, 
but  he  is  at  rest.  The  pang  is  over,  his  sufferings  are  at 
an  end  for  ever.  A  sod  covers  his  gentle  form,  and  he  knows 
no  pain.  He  can  no  longer  be  a  subject  for  pity  ;  we  must 
reserve  that  for  his  miserable  survivors." 

Clerval  spoke  thus  as  we  hurried  through  the  streets ; 
the  words  impressed  themselves  on  my  mind,  and  I  remem- 
bered them  afterwards  in  solitude.  But  now,  as  soon  as 
the  horses  arrived,  I  hurried  into  a  cabriolet,  and  bade 
farewell  to  my  friend. 

My  journey  was  very  melancholy.  At  first  I  wished 
to  hurry  on,  for  I  longed  to  console  and  sympathise  with 
my  loved  and  sorrowing  friends  ;  but  when  I  drew  near 
my  native  town,  I  slackened  my  progress.  I  could  hardly 
sustain  the  multitude  of  feelings  that  crowded  into  my 
mind.  I  passed  through  scenes  familiar  to  my  youth,  but 
which  I  had  not  seen  for  nearly  six  years.  How  altered 
every  thing  might  be  during  that  time  !  One  sudden  and 
desolating  change  had  taken  place;  but  a  thousand  little 
circumstances  might  have  by  degrees  worked  other  alter- 
ations, which,  although  they  were  done  more  tranquilly, 
might  not  be  the  less  decisive.  Fear  overcame  me ;  I 
dared  not  advance,  dreading  a  thousand  nameless  evils 
that  made  me  tremble,  although  I  was  unable  to  define 
them. 

I  remained  two  days  at  Lausanne,  in  this  painful  state 
of  mind.  I  contemplated  the  lake :  the  waters  were  placid ; 
all  around  was  calm;  and  the  snowy  mountains,  "the  palaces 
of  nature,"  were  not  changed.  By  degrees  the  calm  and 
heavenly  scene  restored  me,  and  I  continued  my  journey 
towards  Geneva. 

The  road  ran  by  the  side  of  the  lake,  which  became 
narrower  as  I  approached  my  native  town.  I  discovered 
more  distinctly  the  black  sides  of  Jura,  and  the  bright 
summit  of  Mont  Blanc.  I  wept  like  a  child.  "  Dear 


FRANKENSTEIN;  OR, 

mountains  !  my  own  beautiful  lake  !  how  do  you  welcome 
your  wanderer  ?  Your  summits  are  clear ;  the  sky  and 
lake  are  blue  and  placid.  Is  this  to  prognosticate  peace,  or 
to  mock  at  my  unhappiness  ?  " 

I  fear,  my  friend,  that  I  shall  render  myself  tedious  by 
dwelling  on  these  preliminary  circumstances  ;  but  they  were 
days  of  comparative  happiness,  and  I  think  of  them  with 
pleasure.  My  country,  my  beloved  country  !  who  but  a 
native  can.  tell  the  delight  I  took  in  again  beholding  thy 
streams,  thy  mountains,  and,  more  than  all,  thy  lovely  lake  ! 

Yet,  as  I  drew  nearer  home,  grief  and  fear  again  over- 
came me.  Night  also  closed  around ;  and  when  I  could 
hardly  see  the  dark  mountains,  I  felt  still  more  gloomily. 
The  picture  appeared  a  vast  and  dim  scene  of  evil,  and  I 
foresaw  obscurely  that  I  was  destined  to  become  the  most 
wretched  of  human  beings.  Alas  !  I  prophesied  truly,  and 
failed  only  in  one  single  circumstance,  that  in  all  the  misery 
I  imagined  and  dreaded,  I  did  not  conceive  the  hundredth 
part  of  the  anguish  I  was  destined  to  endure. 

It  was  completely  dark  when  I  arrived  in  the  environs 
of  Geneva  ;  the  gates  of  the  town  were  already  shut ;  and 
I  was  obliged  to  pass  the  night  at  Secheron,  a  village  at  the 
distance  of  half  a  league  from  the  city.  The  sky  was 
serene ;  and,  as  I  was  unable  to  rest,  I  resolved  to  visit  the 
spot  where  my  poor  William  had  been  murdered.  As  I 
could  not  pass  through  the  town,  I  was  obliged  to  cross  the 
lake  in  a  boat  to  arrive  at  Plainpalais.  During  this  short 
voyage  I  saw  the  lightnings  playing  on  the  summit  of  Mont 
Blanc  in  the  most  beautiful  figures.  The  storm  appeared 
to  approach  rapidly  ;  and,  on  landing,  I  ascended  a  low 
hill,  that  I  might  observe  its  progress.  It  advanced;  the 
heavens  were  clouded,  and  I  soon  felt  the  rain  coming 
slowly  in  large  drops,  but  its  violence  quickly  increased. 

I  quitted  my  seat,  and  walked  on,  although  the  darkness 
and  storm  increased  every  minute,  and  the  thunder  burst 
with  a  terrific  crash  over  iny  head.  It  was  echoed  from 
Saleve,  the  Juras,  and  the  Alps  of  Savoy  ;  vivid  flashes  of 
lightning  dazzled  my  eyes,  illuminating  the  lake,  making 
it  appear  like  a  vast  sheet  of  fire ;  then  for  an  instant  every 
thing  seemed  of  a  pitchy  darkness,  until  the  eye  recovered 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  01 

itself  from  the  preceding  flash.  The  storm,  as  is  often  the 
case  in  Switzerland,  appeared  at  once  in  various  parts  of 
the  heavens.  The  most  violent  storm  hung  exactly  north 
of  the  town,  over  that  part  of  the  lake  which  lies  between 
the  promontory  of  Belrive  and  the  village  of  Copet.  Another 
storm  enlightened  Jura  with  faint  flashes ;  and  another 
darkened  and  sometimes  disclosed  the  Mole,  a  peaked 
mountain  to  the  east  of  the  lake. 

While  I  watched  the  tempest,  so  beautiful  yet  terrific,  I 
wandered  on  with  a  hasty  step.  This  noble  war  in  the 
sky  elevated  my  spirits  ;  I  clasped  my  hands,  and  exclaimed 
aloud,  "  William,  dear  angel  !  this  is  thy  funeral,  this  thy 
dirge  ! "  As  I  said  these  words,  I  perceived  in  the  gloom 
a  figure  which  stole  from  behind  a  clump  of  trees  near  me; 
I  stood  fixed,  gazing  intently  :  I  could  not  be  mistaken. 
A  flash  of  lightning  illuminated  the  object,  and  discovered 
its  shape  plainly  to  me ;  its  gigantic  stature,  and  the  de- 
formity of  its  aspect,  more  hideous  than  belongs  to  hu- 
manity, instantly  informed  me  that  it  was  the  wretch,  the 
filthy  daemon,  to  whom  I  had  given  life.  What  did  he 
there  ?  Could  he  be  (I  shuddered  at  the  conception)  the 
murderer  of  my  brother  ?  No  sooner  did  that  idea  cross 
my  imagination,  than  1  became  convinced  of  its  truth  j  my 
teeth  chattered,  and  I  was  forced  to  lean  against  a  tree  for 
support.  The  figure  passed  me  quickly,  and  I  lost  it  in 
the  gloom.  Nothing  in  human  shape  could  have  destroyed 
that  fair  child.  He  was  the  murderer  !  I  could  not  doubt 
it.  The  mere  presence  of  the  idea  was  an  irresistible  proof 
of  the  fact.  I  thought  of  pursuing  the  devil ;  but  it  would 
have  been  in  vain,  for  another  flash  discovered  him  to  me 
hanging  among  the  rocks  of  the  nearly  perpendicular  as- 
cent of  Mont  Saleve,  a  hill  that  bounds  Plainpalais  on  the 
south.  He  soon  reached  the  summit,  and  disappeared. 

I  remained  motionless.  The  thunder  ceased  j  but  the 
rain  still  continued,  and  the  scene  was  enveloped  in  an 
impenetrable  darkness.  I  revolved  in  my  mind  the  events 
which  I  had  until  now  sought  to  forget :  the  whole  train 
of  my  progress  towards  the  creation ;  the  appearance  of  the 
work  of  my  own  hands  alive  at  my  bedside ;  its  departure. 
Two  years  had  now  nearly  elapsed  since  the  night  on  which 


62  FRANKENSTEIN  J    OB, 

he  first  received  life  ;  and  was  this  his  first  crime  ?  Alas  ! 
I  had  turned  loose  into  the  world  a  depraved  wretch,  whose 
delight  was  in  carnage  and  misery ;  had  he  not  murdered 
my  brother  ? 

No  one  can  conceive  the  anguish  I  suffered  during  the 
remainder  of  the  night,  which  I  spent,  cold  and  wet,  in  the 
open  air.  But  I  did  not  feel  the  inconvenience  of  the 
weather  ;  my  imagination  was  busy  in  scenes  of  evil  and 
despair.  I  considered  the  being  whom  I  had  cast  among 
mankind,  and  endowed  with  the  will  and  power  to  effect 
purposes  of  horror,  such  as  the  deed  which  he  had  now 
done,  nearly  in  the  light  of  my  own  vampire,  my  own  spirit 
let  loose  from  the  grave,  and  forced  to  destroy  all  that  was 
dear  to  me. 

Day  dawned  j  and  I  directed  my  steps  towards  the  town. 
The  gates  were  open,  and  I  hastened  to  my  father's  house. 
My  first  thought  was  to  discover  what  I  knew  of  the  mur- 
derer, and  cause  instant  pursuit  to  be  made.  But  I  paused 
when  I  reflected  on  the  story  that  I  had  to  tell.  A  being 
whom  I  myself  had  formed,  and  endued  with  life,  had  met 
me  at  midnight  among  the  precipices  of  'an  inaccessible 
mountain.  I  remembered  also  the  nervous  fever  with  which 
I  had  been  seized  just  at  the  time  that  I  dated  my  creation, 
and  which  would  give  an  air  of  delirium  to  a  tale  other- 
wise so  utterly  improbable.  I  well  knew  that  if  any  other 
had  communicated  such  a  relation  to  me,  I  should  have 
looked  upon  it  as  the  ravings  of  insanity.  Besides,  the 
strange  nature  of  the  animal  would  elude  all  pursuit,  even 
if  I  were  so  far  credited  as  to  persuade  my  relatives  to 
commence  it.  And  then  of  what  use  would  be  pursuit  ? 
Who  could  arrest  a  creature  capable  of  scaling  the  over- 
hanging sides  of  Mont  Saleve  ?  These  reflections  deter- 
mined me,  and  I  resolved  to  remain  silent. 

It  was  about  five  in  the  morning  when  I  entered  my 
father's  house.  I  told  the  servants  not  to  disturb  the  family, 
and  went  into  the  library  to  attend  their  usual  hour  of  rising. 

Six  years  had  elapsed,  passed  as  a  dream  but  for  one 
indelible  trace,  and  I  stood  in  the  same  place  where  I  had 
last  embraced  my  father  before  my  departure  for  Ingolstadt. 
Beloved  and  venerable  parent !  He  still  remained  to  me. 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  63 

I  gazed  on  the  picture  of  my  mother,  which  stood  over  the 
mantel-piece.  It  was  an  historical  subject,  painted  at  my 
father's  desire,,  and  represented  Caroline  Beaufort  in  an 
agony  of  despair,  kneeling  by  the  coffin  of  her  dead  father. 
Her  garb  was  rustic,  and  her  cheek  pale  ;  but  there  was 
an  air  of  dignity  and  beauty,  that  hardly  permitted  the 
sentiment  of  pity.  Below  this  picture  was  a  miniature  of 
William ;  and  my  tears  flowed  when  I  looked  upon  it. 
While  I  was  thus  engaged,  Ernest  entered :  he  had  heard 
me  arrive,  and  hastened  to  welcome  me.  He  expressed  a 
sorrowful  delight  to  see  me  :  "  Welcome,  my  dearest  Vic- 
tor," said  he.  "  Ah  !  I  wish  you  had  come  three  months 
ago,  and  then  you  would  have  found  us  all  joyous  am 
delighted.  You  come  to  us  now  to  share  a  misery  whi< 
nothing  can  alleviate ;  yet  your  presence  will,  I  hope,  revivL. 
our  father,  who  seems  sinking  under  his  misfortune ;  and 
your  persuasions  will  induce  poor  Elizabeth  to  cease  her 
vain  and  tormenting  self-accusations.  —  Poor  William  ! 
he  was  our  darling  and  our  pride ! " 

Tears,  unrestrained,  fell  from  my  brother's  eyes  ;  a  sense 
of  mortal  agony  crept  over  my  frame.  Before,  I  had  only 

agined    the  wretchedness   of   my   desolated  home ;  the 
ity  came  on  me  as  a  new,  and  a  not  less  terrible,  disaster. 
I  tried  to   calm  Ernest ;  I  enquired  more  minutely  con- 
cerning my  father,  and  her  I  named  my  cousin. 

"  She  most  of  all,"  said  Ernest,  "  requires  consolation ; 
she  accused  herself  of  having  caused  the  death  of  my  brother, 
and  that  made  her  very  wretched.  But  since  the  murderer 
has  been  discovered — " 

"  The  murderer  discovered  !  Good  God  !  how  can  that 
be  ?  who  could  attempt  to  pursue  him  ?  It  is  impossible ; 
one  might  as  well  try  to  overtake  the  winds,  or  confine  a 
mountain-stream  with  a  straw.  I  saw  him  too ;  he  was 
free  last  night ! " 

"  I  do  not  know  what  you  mean,"  replied  my  brother, 
in  accents  of  wonder,  "  but  to  us  the  discovery  we  have 
made  completes  our  misery.  No  one  would  believe  it  at 
first ;  and  even  now  Elizabeth  will  not  be  convinced,  not- 
withstanding all  the  evidence.  Indeed,  who  would  credit 
that  Justine  Moritz ,  who  was  so  amiable,,  and  fond  of  all 


64  FRANKENSTEIN  ;    OB, 

the  family,  could  suddenly  become  capable  of  so  frightful, 
so  appalling  a  crime  ?  " 

' '  Justine  Moritz  !  Poor,  poor  girl,  is  she  the  accused  ? 
But  it  is  wrongfully ;  every  one  knows  that ;  no  one  be- 
lieves it,  surely,  Ernest  ?  " 

"  No  one  did  at  first ;  but  several  circumstances  came 
out,  that  have  almost  forced  conviction  upon  us  ;  and  her 
own  behaviour  has  been  so  confused,  as  to  add  to  the  evi- 
dence of  facts  a  weight  that,  I  fear,  leaves  no  hope  for  doubt. 
But  she  will  be  tried  to-day,  and  you  will  then  hear  all." 

He  related  that,  the  morning  on  which  the  murder  of 
poor  William  had  been  discovered,  Justine  had  been  taken 
ill,  and  confined  to  her  bed  for  several  days.  During  this 
interval,  one  of  the  servants,  happening  to  examine  the 
apparel  she  had  worn  on  the  night  of  the  murder,  had  dis- 
covered in  her  pocket  the  picture  of  my  mother,  which  had 
been  judged  to  be  the  temptation  of  the  murderer.  The 
servant  instantly  showed  it  to  one  of  the  others,  who,  with- 
out saying  a  word  to  any  of  the  family,  went  to  a  magis- 
trate ;  and,  upon  their  deposition,  Justine  was  apprehended. 
On  being  charged  with  tjie  fact,  the  poor  girl  confirmed 
the  suspicion  in  a  great  measure  by  her  extreme  confusion 
of  manner. 

This  was  a  strange  tale,  but  it  did  not  shake  my  faith  ; 
and  I  replied  earnestly,  "  You  are  all  mistaken ;  I  know 
the  murderer.  Justine,  poor,  good  Justine,  is  innocent." 

At  that  instant  my  father  entered.  I  saw  unhappiness 
deeply  impressed  on  his  countenance,  but  he  endeavoured 
to  welcome  me  cheerfully ;  and,  after  we  had  exchanged 
our  mournful  greeting,  would  have  introduced  some  other 
topic  than  that  of  our  disaster,  had  not  Ernest  exclaimed, 
"  Good  God,  papa !  Victor  says  that  he  knows  who  was 
the  murderer  of  poor  William." 

"  We  do  also,  unfortunately,"  replied  my  father  ;  "  for 
indeed  I  had  rather  have  been  for  ever  ignorant  than  have 
discovered  so  much  depravity  and  ingratitude  in  one  I 
valued  so  highly." 

"  My  dear  father,  you  are  mistaken ;  Justine  is  in- 
nocent." 

"  If  she  is,  God  forbid  that  she  should  suffer  as  guilty. 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS. 


65 


She  is  to  be  tried  to-day,  and  I  hope,  I  sincerely  hope,  that 
she  will  be  acquitted." 

This  speech  calmed  me.  I  was  firmly  convinced  in  my 
own  mind  that  Justine,  and  indeed  every  human  being,  was 
guiltless  of  this  murder.  I  had  no  fear,  therefore,  that  any 
circumstantial  evidence  could  be  brought  forward  strong 
enough  to  convict  her.  My  tale  was  not  one  to  announce 
publicly ;  its  astounding  horror  would  be  looked  upon  as 
madness  by  the  vulgar.  Did  any  one  indeed  exist,  except 
I,  the  creator,  who  would  believe,  unless  his  senses  con- 
vinced him,  in  the  existence  of  the  living  monument  of 
presumption  and  rash  ignorance  which  I  had  let  loose  upon 
the  world  ? 

We  were  soon  joined  by  Elizabeth.  Time  had  altered 
her  since  I  last  beheld  her  ;  it  had  endowed  her  with  love- 
liness surpassing  the  beauty  of  her  childish  years.  There 
was  the  same  candour,  the  same  vivacity,  but  it  was  allied 
to  an  expression  more  full  of  sensibility  and  intellect.  She 
welcomed  me  with  the  greatest  affection.  "  Your  arrival, 
my  dear  cousin,"  said  she,  "  fills  me  with  hope.  You  per- 
haps will  find  some  means  to  justify  my  poor  guiltless  Jus- 
tine. Alas  !  who  is  safe,  if  she  be  convicted  of  crime  ?  I 
rely  on  her  innocence  as  certainly  as  I  do  upon  my  own 
Our  misfortune  is  doubly  hard  to  us ;  we  have  not  only  lost 
that  lovely  darling  boy,  but  this  poor  girl,  whom  I  sincerely 
love,  is  to  be  torn  away  by  even  a  worse  fate.  If  she  is 
condemned,  I  never  shall  know  joy  more.  But  she  will 
not,  I  am  sure  she  will  not ;  and  then  I  shall  be  happy 
again,  even  after  the  sad  death  of  my  little  William." 

"  She  is  innocent,  my  Elizabeth,"  said  I,  "  and  that 
shall  be  proved  ;  fear  nothing,  but  let  your  spirits  be  cheered 
by  the  assurance  of  her  acquittal." 

"  How  kind  and  generous  you  are !  every  one  else  be- 
lieves in  her  guilt,  and  that  made  me  wretched,  for  I  knew 
that  it  was  impossible :  and  to  see  every  one  else  prejudiced 
in  so  deadly  a  manner  rendered  me  hopeless  and  despair- 
ing." She  wept. 

"  Dearest  niece,"  said  my  father,  "  dry  your  tears.     If 
she  is,  as  you  believe,  innocent,  rely  on  the  justice  of  our 
F 


66  FRANKENSTEIN;  OB, 

laws.,   and  the  activity  with  which  I  shall   prevent   the 
slightest  shadow  of  partiality." 


CHAPTER  VIII. 

WE  passed  a  few  sad  hours,  until  eleven  o'clock,  when  the 
trial  was  to  commence.  My  father  and  the  rest  of  the 
family  heing  obliged  to  attend  as  witnesses,  I  accompanied 
them  to  the  court.  During  the  whole  of  this  wretched 
mockery  of  justice  I  suffered  living  torture.  It  was  to  he 
decided,  whether  the  result  of  my  curiosity  and  lawless 
devices  would  cause  the  death  of  two  of  my  fellow-beings : 
one  a  smiling  babe,  full  of  innocence  and  joy ;  the  other 
far  more  dreadfully  murdered,  with  every  aggravation  of 
infamy  that  could  make  the  murder  memorable  in  horror. 
Justine  also  was  a  girl  of  merit,  and  possessed  qualities 
which  promised  to  render  her  life  happy :  now  all  was  to 
be  obliterated  in  an  ignominious  grave ;  and  I  the  cause  ! 
A  thousand  times  rather  would  I  have  confessed  myself 
guilty  of  the  crime  ascribed  to  Justine ;  but  I  was  absent 
when  it  was  committed,  and  such  a  declaration  would  have 
been  considered  as  the  ravings  of  a  madman,  and  would  not 
have  exculpated  her  who  suffered  through  me. 

The  appearance  of  Justine  was  calm.  She  was  dressed 
in  mourning  ;  and  her  countenance,  always  engaging,  was 
rendered,  by  the  solemnity  of  her  feelings,  exquisitely 
beautiful.  Yet  she  appeared  confident  in  innocence,  and 
did  not  tremble,  although  gazed  on  and  execrated  by  thou- 
sands ;  for  all  the  kindness  which  her  beauty  might  other- 
wise have  excited,  was  obliterated  in  the  minds  of  the 
spectators  by  the  imagination  of  the  enormity  she  was 
supposed  to  have  committed.  She  was  tranquil,  yet  her 
tranquillity  was  evidently  constrained;  and  as  her  con- 
fusion had  before  been  adduced  as  a  proof  of  her  guilt, 
she  worked  up  her  mind  to  an  appearance  of  courage. 
When  she  entered  the  court,  she  threw  her  eyes  round  it, 
and  quickly  discovered  where  we  were  seated.  A  tear 


THE  MODERN  PROMETHEUS. 


seemed  to  dim  her  eye  when  she  saw  us ;  but  she  quickly 
recovered  herself,  and  a  look  of  sorrowful  affection  seemed 
to  attest  her  utter  guiltlessness. 

The  trial  began ;  and,  after  the  advocate  against  her  had 
stated  the  charge,  several  witnesses  were  called.  Several 
strange  facts  combined  against  her,  which  might  have 
staggered  any  one  who  had  not  such  proof  of  her  inno- 
cence as  I  had.  She  had  been  out  the  whole  of  the  night 
on  which  the  murder  had  been  committed,  and  towards 
morning  had  been  perceived  by  a  market-woman  not  far 
from  the  spot  where  the  body  of  the  murdered  child  had  been, 
afterwards  found.  The  woman  asked  her  what  she  Hid 
there ;  but  she  looked  very  strangely,  and  only  returned  a 
confused  and  unintelligible  answer.  She  returned  to  the 
house  about  eight  o'clock ;  and,  when  one  enquired  where 
she  had  passed  the  night,  she  replied  that  she  had  been 
looking  for  the  child,  and  demanded  earnestly  if  any  thing 
had  been  heard  concerning  him.  When  shown  the  body, 
she  fell  into  violent  hysterics,  and  kept  her  bed  for  several 
days.  The  picture  was  then  produced,  which  the  servant 
had  found  in  her  pocket ;  and  when  Elizabeth,  in  a  fal- 
tering voice,  proved  that  it  was  the  same  which,  an 
hour  before  the  child  had  been  missed,  she  had  placed 
round  his  neck,  a  murmur  of  horror  and  indignation  filled 
the  court. 

Justine  was  called  on  for  her  defence.  As  the  trial  had 
proceeded,  her  countenance  had  altered.  Surprise,  horror, 
and  misery  were  strongly  expressed.  Sometimes  she  strug- 
gled with  her  tears ;  but,  when  she  was  desired  to  plead, 
she  collected  her  powers,  and  spoke,  in  an  audible,  although 
variable  voice. 

"  God  knows/'  she  said,  "  how  entirely  I  am  innocent. 
But  I  do  not  pretend  that  my  protestations  should  acquit 
me :  I  rest  my  innocence  on  a  plain  and  simple  explanation 
of  the  facts  which  have  been  adduced  against  me ;  and  I 
hope  the  character  I  have  always  borne  will  incline  my 
judges  to  a  favourable  interpretation,  where  any  circum- 
stance appears  doubtful  or  suspicious." 

She  then  related  that,  by  the  permission  of  Elizabeth, 
she  had  passed  the  evening  of  the  night  on  which  the 
F  2 


68  FRANKENSTEIN;  OB, 

murder  had  been  committed  at  the  house  of  an  aunt  at 
Chene,  a  village  situated  at  about  a  league  from  Geneva. 
On  her  return,  at  about  nine  o'clock,  she  met  a  man,  who 
asked  her  if  she  had  seen  any  thing  of  the  child  who  was 
lost.  She  was  alarmed  by  this  account,  and  passed  several 
hours  in  looking  for  him,  when  the  gates  of  Geneva  were 
shut,  and  she  was  forced  to  remain  several  hours  of  the 
night  in  a  barn  belonging  to  a  cottage,  being  unwilling  to 
call  up  the  inhabitants,  to  whom  she  was  well  known.  Most 
of  the  night  she  spent  here  watching ;  towards  morning  she 
believed  that  slie  slept  for  a  few  minutes ;  some  steps  dis- 
turbed her,  and  she  awoke.  It  was  dawn,  and  she  quitted 
her  asylum,  that  she  might  again  endeavour  to  find  my 
brother.  If  she  had  gone  near  the  spot  where  his  body 
lay,  it  was  without  her  knowledge.  That  she  had  been 
bewildered  when  questioned  by  the  market-woman  was  not 
surprising,  since  she  had  passed  a  sleepless  night,  and  the 
fate  of  poor  William  was  yet  uncertain.  Concerning  the 
picture  she  could  give  no  account. 

"  I  know,"  continued  the  unhappy  victim,  "  how 
heavily  and  fatally  this  one  circumstance  weighs  against 
me,  but  I  have  no  power  of  explaining  it;  and  when  I 
have  expressed  my  utter  ignorance,  I  am  only  left  to  con- 
jecture concerning  the  probabilities  by  which  it  might  have 
been  placed  in  my  pocket.  But  here  also  I  am  checked. 
I  believe  that  I  have  no  enemy  on  earth,  and  none  surely 
would  have  been  so  wicked  as  to  destroy  me  wantonly.  Did 
the  murderer  place  it  there  ?  I  know  of  no  opportunity 
afforded  him  for  so  doing ;  or,  if  I  had,  why  should  he  have 
stolen  the  jewel,  to  part  with  it  again  so  soon  ? 

"  I  commit  my  cause  to  the  justice  of  my  judges,  yet  I 
see  no  room  for  hope.  I  beg  permission  to  have  a  few  wit- 
nesses examined  concerning  my  character;  and  if  their 
testimony  shall  not  overweigh  my  supposed  guilt,  I  must 
be  condemned,  although  I  would  pledge  my  salvation  on 
my  innocence." 

Several  witnesses  were  called,  who  had  known  her  for 
many  years,  and  they  spoke  well  of  her ;  but  fear,  and 
hatred  of  the  crime  of  which  they  supposed  her  guilty, 
rendered  them  timorous,  and  unwilling  to  come  forward. 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  69 

Elizabeth  saw  even  this  last  resource,  her  excellent  dis- 
positions and  irreproachable  conduct,  about  to  fail  the 
accused,,  when,  although  violently  agitated,  she  desired  per- 
mission to  address  the  court. 

"  I  am,"  said  she,  "  the  cousin  of  the  unhappy  child 
who  was  murdered,  or  rather  his  sister,  for  I  was  educated 
by,  and  have  lived  with  his  parents  ever  since  and  even 
long  before,  his  birth.  It  may  therefore  be  judged  indecent 
in  me  to  come  forward  on  this  occasion ;  but  when  I  see  a 
fellow- creature  about  to  perish  through  the  cowardice  of 
her  pretended  friends,  I  wish  to  be  allowed  to  speak,  that 
I  may  say  what  I  know  of  her  character.  I  am  well  ac- 
quainted with  the  accused.  I  have  lived  in  the  same  house 
with  her,  at  one  time  for  five,  and  at  another  for  nearly 
two  years.  During  all  that  period  she  appeared  to  me  the 
most  amiable  and  benevolent  of  human  creatures.  She 
nursed  Madame  Frankenstein,  my  aunt,  in  her  last  illness, 
with  the  greatest  affection  and  care;  and  afterwards  at- 
tended her  own  mother  during  a  tedious  illness,  in  a  man- 
ner that  excited  the  admiration  of  all  who  knew  her ;  after 
which  she  again  lived  in  my  uncle's  house,  where  she  was 
beloved  by  all  the  family.  She  was  warmly  attached  to  the 
child  who  is  now  dead,  and  acted  towards  him  like  a  most 
affectionate  mother.  For  my  own  part,  I  do  not  hesitate 
to  say,  that,  notwithstanding  all  the  evidence  produced 
against  her,  I  believe  and  rely  on  her  perfect  innocence. 
She  had  no  temptation  for  such  an  action  :  as  to  the  bauble 
on  which  the  chief  proof  rests,  if  she  had  earnestly  desired 
it,  I  should  have  willingly  given  it  to  her ;  so  much  do  I 
esteem  and  value  her." 

A  murmur  of  approbation  followed  Elizabeth's  simple 
and  powerful  appeal ;  but  it  was  excited  by  her  generous 
interference,  and  not  in  favour  of  poor  Justine,  on  whom 
the  public  indignation  was  turned  with  renewed  violence, 
charging  her  with  the  blackest  ingratitude.  She  herself 
wept  as  Elizabeth  spoke,  but  she  did  not  answer.  My  own 
agitation  and  anguish  was  extreme  during  the  \fhole  trial. 
I  believed  in  her  innocence ;  I  knew  it.  Could  the  daemon, 
who  had  (I  did  not  for  a  minute  doubt)  murdered  my 
brother,  also  in  his  hellish  sport  have  betrayed  the  innocent 
F  3 


70  FRANKENSTEIN;  on, 

to  death  and  ignominy?  I  could  not  sustain  the  horror  of 
my  situation  ;  and  when  I  perceived  that  the  popular  voice, 
and  the  countenances  of  the  judges,  had  already  condemned 
my  unhappy  victim,  I  rushed  out  of  the  court  in  agony. 
The  tortures  of  the  accused  did  not  equal  mine ;  she  was 
sustained  by  innocence,  but  the  fangs  of  remorse  tore  my 
bosom,,  and  would  not  forego  their  hold. 

I  passed  a  night  of  unmingled  wretchedness.  In  the 
morning  I  went  to  the  court;  my  lips  and  throat  were 
parched.  I  dared  not  ask  the  fatal  question ;  but  I  was 
known,  and  the  officer  guessed  the  cause  of  my  visit.  The 
ballots  had  been  thrown ;  they  were  all  black,  and  Justine 
was  condemned. 

I  cannot  pretend  to  describe  what  I  then  felt.  I  had 
before  experienced  sensations  of  horror ;  and  I  have  endea- 
voured to  bestow  upon  them  adequate  expressions,  but  words 
cannot  convey  an  idea  of  the  heart-sickening  despair  that 
I  then  endured.  The  person  to  whom  I  addressed  myself 
added,  that  Justine  had  already  confessed  her  guilt.  "  That 
evidence,"  he  observed,  "  was  hardly  required  in  so  glaring 
a  case,  but  I  am  glad  of  it;  and,  indeed,  none  of  our 
judges  like  to  condemn  a  criminal  upon  circumstantial 
evidence,  be  it  ever  so  decisive." 

This  was  strange  and  unexpected  intelligence;  what 
could  it  mean  ?  Had  my  eyes  deceived  me  ?  and  was  I 
really  as  mad  as  the  whole  world  would  believe  me  to  be,  if 
I  disclosed  the  object  of  my  suspicions  ?  I  hastened  to  re- 
turn home,  and  Elizabeth  eagerly  demanded  the  result. 

fc  My  cousin,"  replied  I,  "  it  is  decided  as  you  may 
have  expected;  all  judges  had  rather  that  ten  innocent 
should  suffer,  than  that  one  guilty  should  escape.  But  she 
has  confessed." 

This  was  a  dire  blow  to  poor  Elizabeth,  who  had  relied 
with  firmness  upon  Justine's  innocence.  "  Alas  !"  said  she, 
' '  how  shall  I  ever  again  believe  in  human  goodness  ? 
Justine,  whom  I  loved  and  esteemed  as  my  sister,  how 
could  she  put  on  those  smiles  of  innocence  only  to  betray? 
her  mild  eyes  seemed  incapable  of  any  severity  or  guile,  and 
yet  she  has  committed  a  murder." 

Soon  after  we  heard  that  the  poor  victim  had  expressed 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  71 

a  desire  to  see  my  cousin.  My  father  wished  her  not  to 
go  ;  hut  said,  that  he  left  it  to  her  own  judgment  and  feel- 
ings to  decide.  "  Yes/'  said  Elizabeth,  "  I  will  go,  al- 
though she  is  guilty ;  and  you,  Victor,  shall  accompany 
me  :  I  cannot  go  alone."  The  idea  of  this  visit  was  tor- 
ture to  me,  yet  I  could  not  refuse. 

We  entered  the  gloomy  prison-chamher,  and  beheld 
Justine  sitting  on  some  straw  at  the  farther  end ;  her  hands 
were  manacled,  and  her  head  rested  on  her  knees.  She 
rose  on  seeing  us  enter ;  and  when  we  were  left  alone  with 
her,  she  threw  herself  at  the  feet  of  Elizabeth,  weeping 
bitterly.  My  cousin  wept  also. 

"  Oh,  Justine!"  said  she,  "why  did  you  rob  me  of  my 
last  consolation  ?  I  relied  on  your  innocence ;  and  although 
I  was  then  very  wretched,  I  was  not  so  miserable  as  I  am 
now." 

"  And  do  you  also  believe  that  I  am  so  very,  very 
wicked  ?  Do  you  also  join  with  my  enemies  to  crush  me, 
to  condemn  me  as  a  murderer  ?"  Her  voice  was  suffocated 
with  sobs. 

"  Rise,  my  poor  girl,"  said  Elizabeth,  "  why  do  you 
kneel,  if  you  are  innocent  ?  I  am  not  one  of  your  enemies ; 
I  believed  you  guiltless,  notwithstanding  every  evidence, 
until  I  heard  that  you  had  yourself  declared  your  guilt. 
That  report,  you  say,  is  false ;  and  be  assured,  dear  Justine, 
that  nothing  can  shake  my  confidence  in  you  for  a  moment, 
but  your  own  confession." 

"  I  did  confess  ;  but  I  confessed  a  lie.  I  confessed,  that 
I  might  obtain  absolution;  but  now  that  falsehood  lies 
heavier  at  my  heart  than  all  my  other  sins.  The  God  of 
heaven  forgive  me  !  Ever  since  I  was  condemned,  my 
confessor  has  besieged  me ;  he  threatened  and  menaced, 
until  I  almost  began  to  think  that  I  was  the  monster  that 
he  said  I  was.  He  threatened  excommunication  and  hell 
fire  in  my  last  moments,  if  I  continued  obdurate.  Dear 
lady,  I  had  none  to  support  me ;  all  looked  on  me  as  a 
wretch  doomed  to  ignominy  and  perdition.  What  could  I 
do  ?  In  an  evil  hour  I  subscribed  to  a  lie;  and  now  only 
am  I  truly  miserable." 

She  paused,  weeping,  and  then  continued  —  "I  thought 
F  4 


72  FRANKENSTEIN;  OB, 

with  horror,,  my  sweet  lady,  that  you  should  believe  your 
Justine,  whom  your  blessed  aunt  had  so  highly  honoured, 
and  whom  you  loved,  was  a  creature  capable  of  a  crime 
which  none  but  the  devil  himself  could  have  perpetrated. 
Dear  William  !  dearest  blessed  child !  I  soon  shall  see 
you  again  in  heaven,  where  we  shall  all  be  happy  ;  and  that 
consoles  me,  going  as  I  am  to  suffer  ignominy  and  death." 

"  Oh,  Justine  !  forgive  me  for  having  for  one  moment 
distrusted  you.  Why  did  you  confess  ?  But  do  not 
mourn,  dear  girl.  Do  not  fear.  I  will  proclaim,  I  will 
prove  your  innocence.  I  will  melt  the  stony  hearts  of 
your  enemies  by  my  tears  and  prayers.  You  shall  not  die  ! 
—  You,  my  play-fellow,  my  companion,  my  sister,  perish 
on  the  scaffold  !  No  !  no  !  I  never  could  survive  so  hor- 
rible a  misfortune." 

Justine  shook  her  head  mournfully.  "  I  do  no  not  fear 
to  die,"  she  said ;  "  that  pang  is  past.  God  raises  my 
weakness,  and  gives  me  courage  to  endure  the  worst.  I 
leave  a  sad  and  bitter  world ;  and  if  you  remember  me, 
and  think  of  me  as  of  one  unjustly  condemned,  I  am  re- 
signed to  the  fate  awaiting  me.  Learn  from  me,  dear  lady, 
to  submit  in  patience  to  the  will  of  Heaven  ! " 

During  this  conversation  I  had  retired  to  a  corner  of 
the  prison-room,  where  I  could  conceal  the  horrid  anguish 
that  possessed  me.  Despair  !  Who  dared  talk  of  that  ? 
The  poor  victim,  who  on  the  morrow  was  to  pass  the 
awful  boundary  between  life  and  death,  felt  not  as  I  did, 
such  deep  and  bitter  agony.  I  gnashed  my  teeth,  and 
ground  them  together,  uttering  a  groan  that  came  from  my 
inmost  soul.  Justine  started.  When  she  saw  who  it  was, 
she  approached  me,  and  said,  "  Dear  sir,  you  are  very 
kind  to  visit  me ;  you,  I  hope,  do  not  believe  that  I  am 
guilty  ?  " 

I  could  not  answer.  {(  No,  Justine,"  said  Elizabeth ; 
<c  he  is  more  convinced  of  your  innocence  than  I  was  ;  for 
even  when  he  heard  that  you  had  confessed,  he  did  not 
credit  it." 

"  I  truly  thank  him.  In  these  last  moments  I  feel  the 
sincerest  gratitude  towards  those  who  think  of  me  with 
kindness.  How  sweet  is  the  affection  of  others  to  such  a 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  73 

wretch  as  I  am  !  It  removes  more  than  half  my  misfor- 
tune ;  and  I  feel  as  if  I  could  die  in  peace,  now  that  my 
innocence  is  acknowledged  by  you,  dear  lady,  and  your 
cousin." 

Thus  the  poor  sufferer  tried  to  comfort  others  and  her- 
self. She  indeed  gained  the  resignation  she  desired.  But 
I,  the  true  murderer,  felt  the  never-dying  worm  alive  in 
my  bosom,  which  allowed  of  no  hope  or  consolation.  Eli- 
zabeth also  wept,  and  was  unhappy  ;  but  her's  also  was  the 
misery  of  innocence,  which,  like  a  cloud  that  passes  over 
the  fair  moon,  for  a  while  hides  but  cannot  tarnish  its 
brightness.  Anguish  and  despair  had  penetrated  into~the 
core  of  my  heart ;  I  bore  a  hell  within  me,  which  nothing 
could  extinguish.  We  stayed  several  hours  with  Justine  ; 
and  it  was  with  great  difficulty  that  Elizabeth  could  tear 
herself  away.  {e  I  wish,"  cried  she,  "  that  I  were  to  die 
with  you  ;  I  cannot  live  in  this  world  of  misery." 

Justine  assumed  an  air  of  cheerfulness,  while  she  with 
difficulty  repressed  her  bitter  tears.  She  embraced  Eliza- 
beth, and  said,  in  a  voice  of  half-suppressed  emotion, 
e{  Farewell,  sweet  lady,  dearest  Elizabeth,  my  beloved  and 
only  friend ;  may  Heaven,  in  its  bounty,  bless  and  preserve 
you ;  may  this  be  the  last  misfortune  that  you  will  ever 
suffer  !  Live,  and  be  happy,  and  make  others  so/' 

And  on  the  morrow  Justine  died.  Elizabeth's  heart- 
rending eloquence  failed  to  move  the  judges  from  their  set- 
tled conviction  in  the  criminality  of  the  saintly  sufferer. 
My  passionate  and  indignant  appeals  were  lost  upon  them. 
And  when  I  received  their  cold  answers,  and  heard  the 
harsh  unfeeling  reasoning  of  these  men,  my  purposed 
avowal  died  away  on  my  lips.  Thus  I  might  proclaim 
myself  a  madman,  but  not  revoke  the  sentence  passed  upon 
my  wretched  victim.  She  perished  on  the  scaffold  as  a 
murderess ! 

From  the  tortures  of  my  own  heart,  I  turned  to  con- 
template the  deep  and  voiceless  grief  of  my  Elizabeth, 
This  also  was  my  doing  !  And  my  father's  woe,  and  the 
desolation  of  that  late  so  smiling  home — all  was  the  work 
of  my  thrice-accursed  hands  !  Ye  weep,  unhappy  ones  ; 
but  these  are  not  your  last  tears  !  Again  shall  you  raise 


74  FRANKENSTEIN;  OR, 

the  funeral  wail,  and  the  sound  of  your  lamentations  shall 
again  and  again  be  heard !  Frankenstein,,  your  son,  your 
kinsman,  your  early,  much-loved  friend;  he  who  would 
spend  each  vital  drop  of  blood  for  your  sakes  —  who  has 
no  thought  nor  sense  of  joy,  except  as  it  is  mirrored  also 
in  your  dear  countenances  —  who  would  fill  the  air  with 
blessings,  and  spend  his  life  in  serving  you  —  he  bids 
you  weep — to  shed  countless  tears;  happy  beyond  his  hopes, 
if  thus  inexorable  fate  be  satisfied,  and  if  the  destruction 
pause  before  the  peace  of  the  grave  have  succeeded  to  your 
sad  torments ! 

Thus  spoke  my  prophetic  soul,  as,  torn  by  remorse,  hor- 
ror, and  despair,  I  beheld  those  I  loved  spend  vain  sorrow 
upon  the  graves  of  William  and  Justine,  the  first  hapless 
victims  to  my  unhallowed  arts. 


CHAPTER  IX. 

NOTHING  is  more  painful  to  the  human  mind,  than,  after 
the  feelings  have  been  worked  up  by  a  quick  succession  of 
events,  the  dead  calmness  of  inaction  and  certainty  which 
follows,  arid  deprives  the  soul  both  of  hope  and  fear. 
Justine  died;  she  rested;  and  I  was  alive.  The  blood 
flowed  freely  in  my  veins,  but  a  weight  of  despair  and  re- 
morse pressed  on  my  heart,  which  nothing  could  remove. 
Sleep  fled  from  my  eyes ;  I  wandered  like  an  evil  spirit, 
for  I  had  committed  deeds  of  mischief  beyond  description 
horrible,  and  more,  much  more  (I  persuaded  myself),  was 
yet  behind.  Yet  my  heart  overflowed  with  kindness,  and 
the  love  of  virtue.  I  had  begun  life  with  benevolent  in- 
tentions, and  thirsted  for  the  moment  when  I  should  put 
them  in  practice,  and  make  myself  useful  to  my  fellow- 
beings.  Now  all  was  blasted :  instead  of  that  serenity  of 
conscience,  which  allowed  me  to  look  back  upon  the  past 
with  self-satisfaction,  and  from  thence  to  gather  promise 
of  new  hopes,  I  was  seized  by  remorse  and  the  sense  of 
guilt,  which  hurried  me  away  to  a  hell  of  intense  tortures, 
such  as  no  language  can  describe. 


THE  MODERN  PROMETHEUS.  75 

This  state  of  mind  preyed  upon  my  health,  which  had 
perhaps  never  entirely  recovered  from  the  first  shock  it  had 
sustained.  I  shunned  the  face  of  man  ;  all  sound  of  joy  or 
complacency  \vas  torture  to  me;  solitude  was  my  only 
consolation — deep,  dark,  deathlike  solitude. 

My  father  observed  with  pain  the  alteration  perceptible 
in  my  disposition  and  habits,  and  endeavoured  by  argu- 
ments deduced  from  the  feelings  of  his  serene  conscience 
and  guiltless  life,  to  inspire  me  with  fortitude,  and  awaken 
in  me  the  courage  to  dispel  the  dark  cloud  which  brooded 
over  me.  "  Do  you  think,  Victor,"  said  he,  "  that  I  do 
not  suffer  also  ?  No  one  could  love  a  child  more  than  I 
loved  your  brother ; "  (tears  came  into  his  eyes  as  he 
spoke ;)  "  but  is  it  not  a  duty  to  the  survivors,  that  we 
should  refrain  from  augmenting  their  unhappiness  by  an 
appearance  of  immoderate  grief?  It  is  also  a  duty  owed  to 
yourself ;  for  excessive  sorrow  prevents  improvement  or  en- 
joyment, or  even  the  discharge  of  daily  usefulness,  without 
which  no  man  is  fit  for  society." 

This  advice,  although  good,  was  totally  inapplicable  to 
my  case;  I  should  have  been  the  first  to  hide  my  grief, 
and  console  my  friends,  if  remorse  had  not  mingled  its  bit- 
terness, and  terror  its  alarm  with  my  other  sensations.  Now 
I  could  only  answer  my  father  with  a  look  of  despair,  and 
endeavour  to  hide  myself  from  his  view. 

About  this  time  we  retired  to  our  house  at  Belrive.  This 
change  was  particularly  agreeable  to  me.  The  shutting  of 
the  gates  regularly  at  ten  o'clock,  and  the  impossibility  of 
remaining  on  the  lake  after  that  hour,  had  rendered  our  re- 
sidence within  the  walls  of  Geneva  very  irksome  to  me.  I 
was  now  free.  Often,  after  the  rest  of  the  family  had  re- 
tired for  the  night,  I  took  the  boat,  and  passed  many  hours 
upon  the  water.  Sometimes,  with  my  sails  set,  I  was  car- 
ried by  the  wind;  and  sometimes,  after  rowing  into  the 
middle  of  the  lake,  I  left  the  boat  to  pursue  its  own  course, 
and  gave  way  to  my  own  miserable  reflections.  I  was  often 
tempted,  when  all  was  at  peace  around  me,  and  I  the  only 
unquiet  thing  that  wandered  restless  in  a  scene  so  beautiful 
and  heavenly  —  if  I  except  some  bat,  or  the  frogs,  whose 
harsh  and  interrupted  croaking  was  heard  only  when  I  ap- 


/O  FRANKENSTEIN;  OR, 

preached  the  shore — often,  I  say,  I  was  tempted  to  plunge 
into  the  silent  lake,  that  the  waters  might  close  over  me 
and  my  calamities  for  ever.  But  I  was  restrained,  when  I 
thought  of  the  heroic  and  suffering  Elizabeth,  whom  I  ten- 
derly loved,  and  whose  existence  was  bound  up  in  mine. 
I  thought  also  of  my  father,  and  surviving  brother  :  should 
I  by  my  base  desertion  leave  them  exposed  and  unpro- 
tected to  the  malice  of  the  fiend  whom  I  had  let  loose 
among  them  ? 

At  these  moments  I  wept  bitterly,  and  wished  that  peace 
would  revisit  my  mind  only  that  I  might  afford  them  con- 
solation and  happiness.  But  that  could  not  be.  Remorse 
extinguished  every  hope.  I  had  been  the  author  of  un- 
alterable evils ;  and  I  lived  in  daily  fear,  lest  the  monster 
whom  I  had  created  should  perpetrate  some  new  wicked- 
ness. I  had  an  obscure  feeling  that  all  was  not  over,  and 
that  he  would  still  commit  some  signal  crime,  which  by  its 
enormity  should  almost  efface  the  recollection  of  the  past. 
There  was  always  scope  for  fear,  so  long  as  any  thing  I 
loved  remained  behind.  My  abhorrence  of  this  fiend  can- 
not be  conceived.  When  I  thought  of  him,  I  gnashed  my 
teeth,  my  eyes  became  inflamed,  and  I  ardently  wished  to 
extinguish  that  life  which  I  had  so  thoughtlessly  bestowed. 
When  I  reflected  on  his  crimes  and  malice,  my  hatred  and 
revenge  burst  all  bounds  of  moderation.  I  would  have 
made  a  pilgrimage  to  the  highest  peak  of  the  Andes,  could 
I,  when  there,  have  precipitated  him  to  their  base.  I 
wished  to  see  him  again,  that  I  might  wreak  the  utmost 
extent  of  abhorrence  on  his  head,  and  avenge  the  deaths  of 
William  and  Justine. 

Our  house  was  the  house  of  mourning.  My  father's 
health  was  deeply  shaken  by  the  horror  of  the  recent 
events.  Elizabeth  was  sad  and  desponding ;  she  no  longer 
took  delight  in  her  ordinary  occupations;  all  pleasure  seemed 
to  her  sacrilege  toward  the  dead ;  eternal  woe  and  tears 
she  then  thought  was  the  just  tribute  she  should  pay  to  in- 
nocence so  blasted  and  destroyed.  She  was  no  longer  that 
happy  creature,  who  in  earlier  youth  wandered  with  me 
on  the  banks  of  the  lake,  and  talked  with  ecstasy  of  our 
future  prospects.  The  first  of  those  sorrows  which  are 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  77 


sent  to  wean  us  from  the  earth,  had  visited  her,  and  its 
dimming  influence  quenched  her  dearest  smiles. 

ff  When  I  reflect,  my  dear  cousin/'  said  she,  "  on  the 
miserable  death  of  Justine  Moritz,  I  no  longer  see  the 
orld  and  its  works  as  they  before  appeared  to  me.  Before, 
looked  upon  the  accounts  of  vice  and  injustice,  that  I 
in  books  or  heard  from  others,  as  tales  of  ancient  days, 
or  imaginary  evils ;  at  least  they  were  remote,  and  more 
familiar  to  reason  than  to  the  imagination  ;  but  now  misery 
has  come  home,  and  men  appear  to  me  as  monsters  thirst- 
ing for  each  other's  blood.  Yet  I  am  certainly  unjust. 
Every  body  believed  that  poor  girl  to  be  guilty ;  and  if  she 
could  have  committed  the  crime  for  which  she  suffered, 
assuredly  she  would  have  been  the  most  depraved  of  human 
creatures.  For  the  sake  of  a  few  jewels,  to  have  mur- 
dered the  son  of  her  benefactor  and  friend,  a  child  whom 
she  had  nursed  from  its  birth,  and  appeared  to  love  as  if  it 
had  been  her  own  !  I  could  not  consent  to  the  death  of  any 
human  being;  but  certainly  I  should  have  thought  such  a 
creature  unfit  to  remain  in  the  society  of  men.  But  she 
was  innocent.  I  know,  I  feel  she  was  innocent ;  you  are  of 
the  same  opinion,  and  that  confirms  me.  Alas  !  Victor,  when 
falsehood  can  look  so  like  the  truth,  who  can  assure  them- 
selves of  certain  happiness  ?  I  feel  as  if  I  were  walking  on 
the  edge  of  a  precipice,  towards  which  thousands  are 
crowding,  and  endeavouring  to  plunge  me  into  the  abyss. 
William  and  Justine  were  assassinated,  and  the  murderer 
escapes ;  he  walks  about  the  world  free,  and  perhaps  re- 
spected. But  even  if  I  were  condemned  to  suffer  on  the 
scaffold  for  the  same  crimes,  I  would  not  change  places  with 
such  a  wretch." 

I  listened  to  this  discourse  with  the  extremest  agony.  I, 
not  in  deed,  but  in  effect,  was  the  true  murderer.  Eliza- 
beth read  my  anguish  in  my  countenance,  and  kindly  taking 
my  hand,  said,  "  My  dearest  friend,  you  must  calm  your- 
self. These  events  have  affected  me,  God  knows  how 
deeply ;  but  I  am  not  so  wretched  as  you  are.  There  is 
an  expression  of  despair,  and  sometimes  of  revenge,  in  your 
countenance,  that  makes  me  tremble.  Dear  Victor,  banish 
these  dark  passions.  Remember  the  friends  around  you., 


78  FRANKENSTEIN;  OR, 

who  centre  all  their  hopes  in  you.  Have  we  lost  the  power 
of  rendering  you  happy  ?  Ah  !  while  we  love — while  we 
are  true  to  each  other,  here  in  this  land  of  peace  and 
beauty,  your  native  country,  we  may  reap  every  tranquil 
blessing, — what  can  disturb  our  peace?" 

And  could  not  such  words  from  her  whom  I  fondly 
prized  before  every  other  gift  of  fortune,  suffice  to  chase 
away  the  fiend  that  lurked  in  my  heart?  Even  as  she  spoke 
I  drew  near  to  her,  as  if  in  terror;  lest  at  that  very  moment 
the  destroyer  had  been  near  to  rob  me  of  her. 

Thus  not  the  tenderness  of  friendship,  nor  the  beauty  of 
earth,  nor  of  heaven,  could  redeem  my  soul  from  woe  :  the 
very  accents  of  love  were  ineffectual.  I  was  encompassed 
by  a  cloud  which  no  beneficial  influence  could  penetrate. 
The  wounded  deer  dragging  its  fainting  limbs  to  some 
untrodden  brake,  there  to  gaze  upon  the  arrow  which  had 
pierced  it,  and  to  die  — was  but  a  type  of  me. 

Sometimes  I  could  cope  with  the  sullen  despair  that 
overwhelmed  me:  but  sometimes  the  whirlwind  passions 
of  my  soul  drove  me  to  seek,  by  bodily  exercise  and  by 
change  of  place,  some  relief  from  my  intolerable  sensations. 
It  was  during  an  access  of  this  kind  that  I  suddenly  left 
my  home,  and  bending  my  steps  towards  the  near  Alpine 
valleys,  sought  in  the  magnificence,  the  eternity  of  such 
scenes,  to  forget  myself  and  my  ephemeral,  because  human, 
sorrows.  My  wanderings  were  directed  towards  the  valley 
of  Chamounix.  I  had  visited  it  frequently  during  my  boy- 
hood. Six  years  had  passed  since  then  :  /  was  a  wreck  — 
but  nought  had  changed  in  those  savage  and  enduring 
scenes. 

I  performed  the  first  part  of  my  journey  on  horseback. 
I  afterwards  hired  a  mule,  as  the  more  sure-footed,  and 
least  liable  to  receive  injury  on  these  rugged  roads.  The 
weather  was  fine  :  it  was  about  the  middle  of  the  month  of 
August,  nearly  two  months  after  the  death  of  Justine ;  that 
miserable  epoch  from  which  I  dated  all  my  woe.  The 
weight  upon  my  spirit  was  sensibly  lightened  as  I  plunged 
yet  deeper  in  the  ravine  of  Arve.  The  immense  mountains 
and  precipices  that  overhung  me  on  every  side  —  the  sound 
of  the  river  raging  among  the  rocks,  and  the  dashing  of  the 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  79 

waterfalls  around,  spoke  of  a  power  mighty  as  Omnipotence 
—and  I  ceased  to  fear,  or  to  bend  before  any  being  less  almighty 
than  that  which  had  created  and  ruled  the  elements,  here 
displayed  in  their  most  terrific  guise.  Still,  as  I  ascended 
higher,  the  valley  assumed  a  more  magnificent  and  asto- 
nishing character.  Ruined  castles  hanging  on  the  pre- 
cipices of  piny  mountains ;  the  impetuous  Arve,  and 
cottages  every  here  and  there  peeping  forth  from  among 
the  trees,  formed  a  scene  of  singular  beauty.  But  it  was 
augmented  and  rendered  sublime  by  the  mighty  Alps, 
whose  white  and  shining  pyramids  and  domes  towered 
above  all,  as  belonging  to  another  earth,  the  habitations  of 
another  race  of  beings. 

I  passed  the  bridge  of  Pelissier,  where  the  ravine,  which 
the  river  forms,  opened  before  me,  and  I  began  to  ascend 
the  mountain  that  overhangs  it.  Soon  after  I  entered  the 
valley  of  Chamounix.  This  valley  is  more  wonderful  and 
sublime,  but  not  so  beautiful  and  picturesque,  as  that  of 
Servox,  through  which  I  had  just  passed.  The  high  and 
snowy  mountains  were  its  immediate  boundaries;  but  I  saw 
no  more  ruined  castles  and  fertile  fields.  Immense  glaciers 
approached  the  road ;  I  heard  the  rumbling  thunder  of  the 
falling  avalanche,  and  marked  the  smoke  of  its  passage. 
Mont  Blanc,  the  supreme  and  magnificent  Mont  Blanc, 
raised  itself  from  the  surrounding  aiguilles,  and  its  tre- 
mendous dome  overlooked  the  valley. 

A  tingling  long-lost  sense  of  pleasure  often  came  across  me 
during  this  journey.  Some  turn  in  the  road,  some  new 
object  suddenly  perceived  and  recognised,  reminded  me  of 
days  gone  by,  and  were  associated  with  the  light-hearted 
gaiety  of  boyhood.  The  very  winds  whispered  in  soothing 
accents,  and  maternal  nature  bade  me  weep  no  more.  Then 
again  the  kindly  influence  ceased  to  act  —  I  found  myself 
fettered  again  to  grief,  and  indulging  in  all  the  misery  of 
reflection.  Then  I  spurred  on  my  animal,  striving  so  to 
forget  the  world,  my  fears,  and,  more  than  all,  myself  — or, 
in  a  more  desperate  fashion,  I  alighted,  and  threw  myself  on 
the  grass,  weighed  down  by  horror  and  despair. 

At  length  I  arrived  at  the  village  of  Chamounix.  Ex- 
haustion succeeded  to  the  extreme  fatigue  both  of  body  and 


80  FRANKENSTEIN;  OR, 

of  mind  which  I  had  endured.  For  a  short  space  of  time  I 
remained  at  the  window,,  watching  the  pallid  lightnings  that 
played  above  Mont  Blanc,  and  listening  to  the  rushing  of 
the  Arve,  which  pursued  its  noisy  way  beneath.  The  same 
lulling  sounds  acted  as  a  lullaby  to  my  too  keen  sensations  : 
when  I  placed  my  head  upon  my  pillow,  sleep  crept  over 
me ;  I  felt  it  as  it  came,  and  blest  the  giver  of  oblivion. 


CHAPTER  X. 

I  SPENT  the  following  day  roaming  through  the  valley.  I 
stood  beside  the  sources  of  the  Arveiron,  which  take  their 
rise  in  a  glacier,  that  with  slow  pace  is  advancing  down 
from  the  summit  of  the  hills,  to  barricade  the  valley.  The 
abrupt  sides  of  vast  mountains  were  before  me ;  the  icy 
wall  of  the  glacier  overhung  me;  a  few  shattered  pines 
were  scattered  around  ;  and  the  solemn  silence  of  this  glo- 
rious presence-chamber  of  imperial  Nature  was  broken  only 
by  the  brawling  waves,  or  the  fall  of  some  vast  fragment, 
the  thunder  sound  of  the  avalanche,  or  the  cracking,  rever- 
berated along  the  mountains  of  the  accumulated  ice,  which, 
through  the  silent  working  of  immutable  laws,  was  ever  and 
anon  rent  and  torn,  as  if  it  had  been  but  a  plaything  in  their 
hands.  These  sublime  and  magnificent  scenes  afforded 
me  the  greatest  consolation  that  I  was  capable  of  receiving. 
They  elevated  me  from  all  littleness  of  feeling;  and  although 
they  did  not  remove  my  grief,  they  subdued  and  tranquil- 
lised  it.  In  some  degree,  also,  they  diverted  my  mind 
from  the  thoughts  over  which  it  had  brooded  for  the  last 
month.  I  retired  to  rest  at  night ;  my  slumbers,  as  it  were, 
waited  on  and  ministered  to  by  the  assemblance  of  grand 
shapes  which  I  had  contemplated  during  the  day.  They 
congregated  round  me;  the  unstained  snowy  mountain-top, 
the  glittering  pinnacle,  the  pine  woods,  and  ragged  bare 
ravine ;  the  eagle,  soaring  amidst  the  clouds  —  they  all 
gathered  round  me,  and  bade  me  be  at  peace. 

Where  had  they  fled  when  the  next  morning  I  awoke  ? 


I 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  8l 

All  of  soul-inspiriting  fled  with  sleep,  and  dark  melancholy 
clouded  every  thought.  The  rain  was  pouring  in  torrents, 
and  thick  mists  hid  the  summits  of  the  mountains,  so  that 
I  even  saw  not  the  faces  of  those  mighty  friends.  Still  I 
would  penetrate  their  misty  veil,  and  seek  them  in  their 
cloudy  retreats.  What  were  rain  and  storm  to  me  ?  My 
mule  was  brought  to  the  door,  and  I  resolved  to  ascend  to 
the  summit  of  Montanvert.  I  remembered  the  effect  that 
the  view  of  the  tremendous  and  ever-moving  glacier  had 
produced  upon  my  mind  when  I  first  saw  it.  It  had  then 
filled  me  with  a  sublime  ecstasy,  that  gave  wings  to  the 
soul,  and  allowed  it  to  soar  from  the  obscure  world  to  light 
and  joy.  The  sight  of  the  awful  and  majestic  in  nature  had 
indeed  always  the  effect  of  solemnising  my  mind,  and 
causing  me  to  forget  the  passing  cares  of  life.  I  deter- 
mined to  go  without  a  guide,  for  I  was  well  acquainted 
with  the  path,  and  the  presence  of  another  would  destroy 
the  solitary  grandeur  of  the  scene. 

The  ascent  is  precipitous,  but  the  path  is  cut  into  con- 
tinual and  short  windings,  which  enable  you  to  surmount 
the  perpendicularity  of  the  mountain.  It  is  a  scene  terri- 
fically desolate.  In  a  thousand  spots  the  traces  of  the 
winter  avalanche  may  be  perceived,  where  trees  lie  broken 
and  strewed  on  the  ground ;  some  entirely  destroyed, 
others  bent,  leaning  upon  the  jutting  rocks  of  the  mountain, 
or  transversely  upon  other  trees.  The  path,  as  you  ascend 
higher,  is  intersected  by  ravines  of  snow,  down  which 
stones  continually  roll  from  a.bove ;  one  of  them  is  parti- 
cularly dangerous,  as  the  slightest  sound,  such  as  even 
speaking  in  aloud  voice,  produces  a  concussion  of  air  suffi- 
cient to  draw  destruction  upon  the  head  of  the  speaker. 
The  pines  are  not  tall  or  luxuriant,  but  they  are  sombre, 
and  add  an  air  of  severity  to  the  scene.  I  looked  on  the 
valley  beneath ;  vast  mists  were  rising  from  the  rivers 
which  ran  through  it,  and  curling  in  thick  wreaths  around 
the  opposite  mountains,  whose  summits  were  hid  in  the 
uniform  clouds,  while  rain  poured  from  the  dark  sky,  and 
added  to  the  melancholy  impression  I  received  from  the 
objects  around  me.  Alas  !  why  does  man  boast  of  sensi- 
bilities superior  to  those  apparent  in  the  brute ;  it  only 

G 


82  FRANKENSTEIN;  OR, 

renders  them  more  necessary  beings.  If  our  impulses  were 
confined  to  hunger,  thirst,  and  desire,  we  might  be  nearly 
free ;  but  now  we  are  moved  by  every  wind  that  blows,  and 
a  chance  word  or  scene  that  that  word  may  convey  to  us. 

We  rest ;  a  dream  has  power  to  poison  sleep. 

We  rise ;  one  wand'ring  thought  pollutes  the  day. 
We  feel,  conceive,  or  reason  ;  laugh  or  weep, 

Embrace  fond  woe,  or  cast  our  cares  away  ; 
It  is  the  same :  for,  be  it  joy  or  sorrow, 

The  path  of  its  departure  still  is  free. 
Man's  yesterday  may  ne'er  belike  his  morrow ; 

Nought  may  endure  but  mutability  ! 

It  was  nearly  noon  when  I  arrived  at  the  top  of  the 
ascent.  For  some  time  I  sat  upon  the  rock  that  overlooks 
the  sea  of  ice.  A  mist  covered  both  that  and  the  sur- 
rounding mountains.  Presently  a  breeze  dissipated  the 
cloud,  and  I  descended  upon  the  glacier.  The  surface  is 
very  uneven,  rising  like  the  waves  of  a  troubled  sea,  des- 
cending low,  and  interspersed  by  rifts  that  sink  deep.  The 
field  of  ice  is  almost  a  league  in  width,  but  I  spent  nearly 
two  hours  in  crossing  it.  The  opposite  mountain  is  a  bare 
perpendicular  rock.  From  the  side  where  I  now  stood 
Mon  tan  vert  was  exactly  opposite,  at  the  distance  of  a  league ; 
and  above  it  rose  Mont  Blanc,  in  awful  majesty.  I  re- 
mained in  a  recess  of  the  rock,  gazing  on  this  wonderful  and 
stupendous  scene.  The  sea,  or  rather  the  vast  river  of 
ice,  wound  among  its  dependent  mountains,  whose  aerial 
summits  hung  over  its  recesses.  Their  icy  and  glittering 
peaks  shone  in  the  sunlight  over  the  clouds.  My  heart, 
which  was  before  sorrowful,  now  swelled  with  something 
like  joy ;  I  exclaimed — "  Wandering  spirits,  if  indeed  ye 
wander,  and  do  not  rest  in  your  narrow  beds,  allow  me 
this  faint  happiness,  or  take  me,  as  your  companion,  away 
from  the  joys  of  life." 

As  I  said  this,  I  suddenly  beheld  the  figure  of  a  man,  at 
some  distance,  advancing  towards  me  with  superhuman 
speed.  He  bounded  over  the  crevices  in  the  ice,  among 
which  I  had  walked  with  caution ;  his  stature,  also,  as  he 
approached,  seemed  to  exceed  that  of  man.  I  was  troubled: 
a  mist  came  over  my  eyes,  and  I  felt  a  faintness  seize  me ; 
but  I  was  quickly  restored  by  the  cold  gale  of  the  mountains. 
I  perceived,  as  the  shape  came  nearer  (sight  tremendous  and 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  83 

abhorred !)  that  it  was  the  wretch  whom  I  had  created.  I 
tremhlecl  with  rage  and  horror,  resolving  to  wait  his  ap- 
proach,, and  then  close  with  him  in  mortal  combat.  He 
approached ;  his  countenance  bespoke  bitter  anguish,  com- 
bined with  disdain  and  malignity,  while  its  unearthly  ug- 
liness rendered  it  almost  too  horrible  for  human  eyes.  But 
I  scarcely  observed  this ;  rage  and  hatred  had  at  first  de- 
prived me  of  utterance,  and  I  recovered  only  to  overwhelm 
him  with  words  expressive  of  furious  detestation  and  con- 
tempt. 

"  Devil,"  I  exclaimed,  "  do  you  dare  approach  me  ?  and 
do  not  you  fear  the  fierce  vengeance  of  my  arm  wreaked  on 
your  miserable  head  ?  Begone,  vile  insect !  or  rather,  stay, 
that  I  may  trample  you  to  dust !  and,  oh !  that  I  could, 
with  the  extinction  of  your  miserable  existence,  restore  those 
victims  whom  you  have  so  diabolically  murdered ! " 

"  I  expected  this  reception,"  said  the  daemon.  c(  All 
men  hate  the  wretched ;  how,  then,  must  I  be  hated,  who 
am  miserable  beyond  all  li ving  things !  Yet  you,  iny 
creator,  detest  and  spurn  me,  thy  creature,  to  whom  thou 
art  bound  by  ties  only  dissoluble  by  the  annihilation  of  one 
of  us.  You  purpose  to  kill  me.  How  dare  you  sport  thus 
with  life  ?  Do  your  duty  towards  me,  and  I  will  do  mine 
towards  you  and  the  rest  of  mankind.  If  you  will  comply 
with  my  conditions,  I  will  leave  them  and  you  at  peace ; 
but  if  you  refuse,  I  will  glut  the  maw  of  death,  until  it  be 
satiated  with  the  blood  of  your  remaining  friends." 

"  Abhorred  monster !  fiend  that  thou  art !  the  tortures 
of  hell  are  too  mild  a  vengeance  for  thy  crimes.  Wretched 
devil !  you  reproach  me  with  your  creation  ;  come  on,  then, 
that  I  may  extinguish  the  spark  which  I  so  negligently 
bestowed." 

My  rage  was  without  bounds  j  I  sprang  on  him,  im- 
pelled by  all  the  feelings  which  can  arm  one  being  against 
the  existence  of  another. 

He  easily  eluded  me,  and  said  — 

"  Be  calm  !  I  entreat  you  to  hear  me,  before  you  give 
vent  to  your  hatred  on  my  devoted  head.  Have  I  not  suf- 
fered enough,  that  you  seek  to  increase  my  misery?  Life, 
although  it  may  only  be  an  accumulation  of  anguish,  is  dear 
G  2 


84>  FRANKENSTEIN  ;    OKX 

to  me,  and  I  will  defend  it.  Remember,,  thou  liast  made 
me  more  powerful  than  thyself;  my  height  is  superior  to 
thine ;  my  joints  more  supple.  But  I  will  not  be  tempted 
to  set  myself  in  opposition  to  thee.  I  am  thy  creature,  and 
I  will  be  even  mild  and  docile  to  my  natural  lord  and  king, 
if  thou  wilt  also  perform  thy  part,  the  which  thou  owest 
me.  Oh,  Frankenstein,  be  not  equitable  to  every  other, 
and  trample  upon  me  alone,  to  whom  thy  justice,  and  even 
thy  clemency  and  affection,  is  most  due.  Remember,  that 
I  am  thy  creature ;  I  ought  to  be  thy  Adam ;  but  I  am 
rather  the  fallen  angel,  whom  thou  drivest  from  joy  for  no 
misdeed.  Every  where  I  see  bliss,  from  which  I  alone 
am  irrevocably  excluded.  I  was  benevolent  and  good; 
misery  made  me  a  fiend.  Make  me  happy,  and  I  shall 
again  be  virtuous." 

1  e  Begone  !  I  will  not  hear  you.  There  can  be  no  com- 
munity between  you  and  me ;  we  are  enemies.  Begone, 
or  let  us  try  our  strength  in  a  fight,  in  which  one  must 
fall." 

1  e  How  can  I  move  thee  ?  Will  no  entreaties  cause  thee 
to  turn  a  favourable  eye  upon  thy  creature,  who  implores 
thy  goodness  and  compassion  ?  Believe  me,  Frankenstein  r 
I  was  benevolent ;  my  soul  glowed  with  love  and  humanity: 
but  am  I  not  alone,  miserably  alone?  You,  my  creator, 
abhor  me ;  what  hope  can  I  gather  from  your  fellow- 
creatures,  who  owe  me  nothing  ?  they  spurn  and  hate  me. 
The  desert  mountains  and  dreary  glaciers  are  my  refuge. 
I  have  wandered  here  many  days ;  the  caves  of  ice,  which 
I  only  do  not  fear,  are  a  dwelling  to  me,  and  the  only  one 
which  man  does  not  grudge.  These  bleak  skies  I  hail,  for 
they  are  kinder  to  me  than  your  fellow-beings.  If  the 
multitude  of  mankind  knew  of  my  existence,  they  would  do 
as  you  do,  and  arm  themselves  for  my  destruction.  Shall 
I  not  then  hate  them  who  abhor  me  ?  I  will  keep  no  terms 
with  my  enemies.  I  am  miserable,  and  they  shall  share 
my  wretchedness.  Yet  it  is  in  your  power  to  recompense 
me,  and  deliver  them  from  an  evil  which  it  only  remains  for 
you  to  make  so  great,  that  not  only  you  and  your  family, 
but  thousands  of  others,  shall  be  swallowed  up  in  the  whirl- 
winds of  its  rage.  Let  your  compassion  be  moved,  and  do 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  85 

not  disdain  me.  Listen  to  my  tale  :  when  you  have  heard 
that,  abandon  or  commiserate  me.,  as  you  shall  judge  that  I 
deserve.  But  hear  me.  The  guilty  are  allowed,  by  human 
laws,  bloody  as  they  are,  to  speak  in  their  own  defence 
before  they  are  condemned.  Listen  to  me,  Frankenstein. 
You  accuse  me  of  murder ;  and  yet  you  would,  with  a  sa- 
tisfied conscience,  destroy  your  own  creature.  Oh,  praise 
the  eternal  justice  of  man  !  Yet  I  ask  you  not  to  spare  me: 
listen  to  me  ;  and  then,  if  you  can,  and  if  you  will,  destroy 
the  work  of  your  hands." 

"  Why  do  you  call  to  my  remembrance,"  I  rejoined, 
"  circumstances,  of  which  I  shudder  to  reflect,  that  I  have 
been  the  miserable  origin  and  author  ?  Cursed  be  the  day, 
abhorred  devil,  in  which  you  first  saw  light  !  Cursed 
(although  I  curse  myself)  be  the  hands  that  formed  you  ! 
You  have  made  me  wretched  beyond  expression.  You 
have  left  me  no  power  to  consider  whether  I  am  just  to 
you,  or  not.  Begone  !  relieve  me  from  the  sight  of  your 
detested  form." 

"  Thus  I  relieve  thee,  my  creator,"  he  said,  and  placed 
his  hated  hands  before  my  eyes,  which  I  flung  from  me  with 
violence ;  "  thus  I  take  from  thee  a  sight  which  you  abhor. 
Still  thou  canst  listen  to  me,  and  grant  me  thy  compassion, 
By  the  virtues  that  I  once  possessed,  I  demand  this  from 
you.  Hear  my  tale  ;  it  is  long  and  strange,  and  the  tem- 
perature of  this  place  is  not  fitting  to  your  fine  sensations ; 
come  to  the  hut  upon  the  mountain.  The  sun  is  yet  high 
in  the  heavens ;  before  it  descends  to  hide  itself  behind  yon 
snowy  precipices,  and  illuminate  another  world,  you  will 
have  heard  my  story,  and  can  decide.  On  you  it  rests, 
whether  I  quit  for  ever  the  neighbourhood  of  man,  and  lead 
a  harmless  life,  or  become  the  scourge  of  your  fellow- 
creatures,  and  the  author  of  your  own  speedy  ruin." 

As  he  said  this,  he  led  the  way  across  the  ice  :  I  fol- 
lowed. My  heart  was  full,  and  I  did  not  answer  him  ;  but, 
as  I  proceeded,  I  weighed  the  various  arguments  that  he 
had  used,  and  determined  at  least  to  listen  to  his  tale.  I 
was  partly  urged  by  curiosity,  and  compassion  confirmed 
my  resolution.  I  had  hitherto  supposed  him  to  be  the 
murderer  of  my  brother,  and  I  eagerly  sought  a  confirm- 
G  3 


8  FRANKENSTEIN;  OR, 

ation  or  denial  of  this  opinion.  For  the  first  time,  also,  I 
felt  what  the  duties  of  a  creator  towards  his  creature  were, 
and  that  I  ought  to  render  him  happy  before  I  complained 
of  his  wickedness.  These  motives  urged  me  to  comply 
with  his  demand.  We  crossed  the  ice,  therefore,  and  as- 
cended the  opposite  rock.  Tfye  air  was  cold,  and  the  rain 
again  began  to  descend  :  we  entered  the  hut,  the  fiend  with 
an  air  of  exultation,  I  with  a  heavy  heart,  and  depressed 
spirits.  But  I  consented  to  listen  ;  and,  seating  myself  by 
the  fire  which  my  odious  companion  had  lighted,  he  thus 
began  his  tale. 


CHAPTER  XI. 

"  IT  is  with  considerable  difficulty  that  I  remember  the 
original  era  of  my  being :  all  the  events  of  that  period  ap- 
pear confused  and  indistinct.  A  strange  multiplicity  of 
sensations  seized  me,  and  I  saw,  felt,  heard,  and  smelt,  at 
the  same  time ;  and  it  was,  indeed,  a  long  time  before  I 
learned  to  distinguish  between  the  operations  of  my  various 
senses.  By  degrees,  I  remember,  a  stronger  light  pressed 
upon  my  nerves,  so  that  I  was  obliged  to  shut  my  eyes. 
Darkness  then  came  over  me,  and  troubled  me;  but  hardly 
had  I  felt  this,  when,  by  opening  my  eyes,  as  I  now  sup- 
pose, the  light  poured  in  upon  me  again.  I  walked,  and, 
I  believe,  descended ;  but  I  presently  found  a  great  alter- 
ation in  my  sensations.  Before,  dark  and  opaque  bodies 
had  surrounded  me,  impervious  to  my  touch  or  sight ;  but 
I  now  found  that  I  could  wander  on  at  liberty,  with  no 
obstacles  which  I  could  not  either  surmount  or  avoid.  The 
light  became  more  and  more  oppressive  to  me ;  and,  the 
heat  wearying  me  as  I  walked,  I  sought  a  place  where  I 
could  receive  shade.  This  was  the  forest  near  Ingolstadt ; 
and  here  I  lay  by  the  side  of  a  brook  resting  from  my 
fatigue,  until  I  felt  tormented  by  hunger  and  thirst.  This 
roused  me  from  my  nearly  dormant  state,  and  I  ate  some 
berries  which  I  found  hanging  on  the  trees,  or  lying  on  the 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  87 

ground.  I  slaked  my  thirst  at  the  brook ;  and  then  lying 
down,  was  overcome  by  sleep. 

"  It  was  dark  when  I  awoke ;  I  felt  cold  also,  and  half- 
frightened,  as  it  were  instinctively,  finding  myself  so  de- 
solate. Before  I  had  quitted  your  apartment,  on  a  sensation 
of  cold,  I  had  covered  myself  with  some  clothes  ;  but  these 
were  insufficient  to  secure  me  from  the  dews  of  night.  I 
was  a  poor,  helpless,  miserable  wretch  ;  I  knew,  and  could 
distinguish,  nothing ;  but  feeling  pain  invade  me  on  all 
sides,  I  sat  down  and  wept. 

"  Soon  a  gentle  light  stole  over  the  heavens,  and  gave 
me  a  sensation  of  pleasure.'  I  started  up,  and  beheld  a 
radiant  form  rise  from  among  the  trees.*  I  gazed  with  a 
kind  of  wonder.  It  moved  slowly,  but  it  enlightened  my 
path  ;  and  I  again  went  out  in  search  of  berries.  I  was 
still  cold,  when  under  one  of  the  trees  I  found  a  huge  cloak, 
with  which  I  covered  myself,  and  sat  down  upon  the 
ground.  No  distinct  ideas  occupied  my  mind ;  all  was 
confused.  I  felt  light,  and  hunger,  and  thirst,  and  dark- 
ness ;  innumerable  sounds  rung  in  my  ears,  and  on  all  sides 
various  scents  saluted  me  :  the  only  object  that  I  could 
distinguish  was  the  bright  moon,  and  I  fixed  my  eyes  on 
that  with  pleasure. 

"  Several  changes  of  day  and  night  passed,  and  the  orb 
of  night  had  greatly  lessened,  when  I  began  to  distinguish 
my  sensations  from  each  other.  I  gradually  saw  plainly 
the  clear  stream  that  supplied  me  with  drink,  and  the  trees 
that  shaded  me  with  their  foliage.  I  was  delighted  when 
I  first  discovered  that  a  pleasant  sound,  which  often  saluted 
my  ears,  proceeded  from  the  throats  of  the  little  winged 
animals  who  had  often  intercepted  the  light  from  my  eyes. 
I  began  also  to  observe,  with  greater  accuracy,  the  forms 
that  surrounded  me,  and  to  perceive  the  boundaries  of  the 
radiant  roof  of  light  which  canopied  me.  Sometimes  I  tried 
to  imitate  the  pleasant  songs  of  the  birds,  but  was  unable. 
Sometimes  I  wished  to  express  my  sensations  in  my  own 
mode,  but  the  uncouth  and  inarticulate  sounds  which  broke 
from  me  frightened  me  into  silence  again. 

"  The  moon  had  disappeared  from  the  night,  and  again, 

*  The  moon. 
O    4 


88  FRANKENSTEIN;  OR, 

with  a  lessened  form,  showed  itself,  while  I  still  remained 
in  the  forest.  My  sensations  had,  by  this  time,  become 
distinct,  and  my  mind  received  every  day  additional  ideas. 
My  eyes  became  accustomed  to  the  light,  and  to  perceive 
objects  in  their  right  forms  ;  I  distinguished  the  insect 
from  the  herb,  and,  by  degrees,  one  herb  from  another.  I 
found  that  the  sparrow  uttered  none  but  harsh  notes,  whilst 
those  of  the  blackbird  and  thrush  were  sweet  and  enticing. 

e(  One  day,  when  I  was  oppressed  by  cold,  I  found  a  fire 
which  had  been  left  by  some  wandering  beggars,  and  was 
overcome  with  delight  at  the  warmth  I  experienced  from 
it.  In  my  joy  I  thrust  my  hand  into  the  live  embers,  but 
quickly  drew  it  out  again  with  a  cry  of  pain.  How  strange, 
I  thought,  that  the  same  cause  should  produce  such  op- 
posite effects !  I  examined  the  materials  of  the  fire,  and 
to  my  joy  found  it  to  be  composed  of  wood.  I  quickly 
collected  some  branches ;  but  they  were  wet,  and  would  not 
burn.  I  was  pained  at  this,  and  sat  still  watching  the 
operation  of  the  fire.  The  wet  wood  which  I  had  placed 
near  the  heat  dried,  and  itself  became  inflamed.  I  reflected 
on  this ;  and,  by  touching  the  various  branches,  I  disco- 
vered the  cause,  and  busied  myself  in  collecting  a  great 
quantity  of  wood,  that  I  might  dry  it,  and  have  a  plentiful 
supply  of  fire.  When  night  came  on,  and  brought  sleep 
with  it,  I  was  in  the  greatest  fear  lest  my  fire  should  be 
extinguished.  1  covered  it  carefully  with  dry  wood  and 
leaves,  and  placed  wet  branches  upon  it ;  and  then,  spread- 
ing my  cloak,  I  lay  on  the  ground,  and  sunk  into  sleep. 

"  It  was  morning  when  I  awoke,  and  my  first  care  was 
to  visit  the  fire.  I  uncovered  it,  and  a  gentle  breeze 
quickly  fanned  it  into  a  flame.  I  observed  this  also,  and 
contrived  a  fan  of  branches,  which  roused  the  embers  when 
they  were  nearly  extinguished.  When  night  came  again, 
I  found,  with  pleasure,  that  the  fire  gave  light  as  well  as 
heat ;  and  that  the  discovery  of  this  element  was  useful  to 
me  in  my  food ;  for  I  found  some  of  the  offals  that  the 
travellers  had  left  had  been  roasted,  and  tasted  much  more 
savoury  than  the  berries  1  gathered  from  the  trees.  I 
tried,  therefore,  to  dress  my  food  in  the  same  manner, 
placing  it  on  the  live  embers.  I  found  that  the  berries 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  O[) 

were  spoiled  by  this  operation,  and  the  nuts  and  roots  much 
improved. 

"  Food,  however,  became  scarce ;  and  I  often  spent  the 
whole  day  searching  in  vain  for  a  few  acorns  to  assuage  the 
pangs  of  hunger.  When  I  found  this,  I  resolved  to  quit 
the  place  that  I  had  hitherto  inhabited,  to  seek  for  one 
where  the  few  wants  I  experienced  would  be  more  easily 
satisfied.  In  this  emigration,  I  exceedingly  lamented  the 
loss  of  the  fire  which  I  had  obtained  through  accident,  and 
knew  not  how  to  reproduce  it.  I  gave  several  hours  to 
the  serious  consideration  of  this  difficulty;  but  I  was 
obliged  to  relinquish  all  attempt  to  supply  it ;  and,  wrap- 
ping myself  up  in  my  cloak,  I  struck  across  the  wood 
towards  the  setting  sun.  I  passed  three  days  in  these 
rambles,  and  at  length  discovered  the  open  country.  A 
great  fall  of  snow  had  taken  place  the  night  before,  and 
the  fields  were  of  one  uniform  white  ;  the  appearance  was 
disconsolate,  and  I  found  my  feet  chilled  by  the  cold  damp 
substance  that  covered  the  ground. 

"  It  was  about  seven  in  the  morning,  and  I  longed  to 
obtain  food  and  shelter ;  at  length  I  perceived  a  small  hut, 
on  a  rising  ground,  which  had  doubtless  been  built  for  the 
convenience  of  some  shepherd.  This  was  a  new  sight  to 
me;  and  I  examined  the  structure  with  great  curiosity. 
Finding  the  door  open,  I  entered.  An  old  man  sat  in  it, 
near  a  fire,  over  which  he  was  preparing  his  breakfast. 
He  turned  on  hearing  a  noise  ;  and,  perceiving  me,  shrieked 
loudly,  and,  quitting  the  hut,  ran  across  the  fields  with  a 
speed  of  which  his  debilitated  form  hardly  appeared  capable. 
His  appearance,  different  from  any  I  had  ever  before  seen, 
and  his  flight,  somewhat  surprised  me.  But  I  was  enchanted 
by  the  appearance  of  the  hut :  here  the  snow  and  rain  could 
not  penetrate  ;  the  ground  was  dry ;  and  it  presented  to 
me  then  as  exquisite  and  divine  a  retreat  as  Pandsemonium 
appeared  to  the  daemons  of  hell  after  their  sufferings  in  the 
lake  of  fire.  I  greedily  devoured  the  remnants  of  the  shep- 
herd's breakfast,  which  consisted  of  bread,  cheese,  milk,  and 
wine;  the  latter,  however,  I  did  not  like.  Then,  overcome  by 
fatigue,  I  lay  down  among  some  straw,  and  fell  asleep. 

"  It  was    noon    when    I   awoke ;    and,  allured  by  the 


90  FRANKENSTE  IN  ;    OR, 

warmth  of  the  sun,  which  shone  brightly  on  the  white 
ground,  I  determined  to  recommence  my  travels ;  and, 
depositing  the  remains  of  the  peasant's  breakfast  in  a 
wallet  I  found,  I  proceeded  across  the  fields  for  several 
hours,  until  at  sunset  I  arrived  at  a  village.  How  mira- 
culous did  this  appear  !  the  huts,  the  neater  cottages,  and 
stately  houses,  engaged  my  admiration  by  turns.  The 
vegetables  in  the  gardens,  the  milk  and  cheese  that  I  saw 
placed  at  the  windows  of  some  of  the  cottages,  allured  my 
appetite.  One  of  the  best  of  these  I  entered;  but  I  had 
hardly  placed  my  foot  within  the  door,  before  the  children 
shrieked,  and  one  of  the  women  fainted.  The  whole  vil- 
lage was  roused ;  some  fled,  some  attacked  me,  until, 
grievously  bruised  by  stones  and  many  other  kinds  of  mis- 
sile weapons,  I  escaped  to  the  open  country,  and  fearfully 
took  refuge  in  a  low  hovel,  quite  bare,  and  making  a 
wretched  appearance  after  the  palaces  I  had  beheld  in  the 
village.  This  hovel,  however,  joined  a  cottage  of  a  neat 
and  pleasant  appearance ;  but,  after  my  late  dearly  bought 
experience,  I  dared  not  enter  it.  My  place  of  refuge  was 
constructed  of  wood,  but  so  low,  that  I  could  with  diffi- 
culty sit  upright  in  it.  No  wood,  however,  was  placed  on 
the  earth,  which  formed  the  floor,  but  it  was  dry;  and 
although  the  wind  entered  it  by  innumerable  chinks,  I  found 
it  an  agreeable  asylum  from  the  snow  and  rain. 

"  Here  then  I  retreated,  and  lay  down  happy  to  have 
found  a  shelter,  however  miserable,  from  the  inclemency 
of  the  season,  and  still  more  from  the  barbarity  of  man. 

"  As  soon  as  morning  dawned,  I  crept  from  my  kennel, 
that  I  might  view  the  adjacent  cottage,  and  discover  if  I 
could  remain  in  the  habitation  I  had  found.  It  was 
situated  against  the  back  of  the  cottage,  and  surrounded  on 
the  sides  which  were  exposed  by  a  pig-sty  and  a  clear  pool 
of  water.  One  part  was  open,  and  by  that  I  had  crept  in  ; 
but  now  I  covered  every  crevice  by  which  I  might  be  per- 
ceived with  stones  and  wood,  yet  in  such  a  manner  that  I 
might  move  them  on  occasion  to  pass  out :  all  the  light  I 
enjoyed  came  through  the  sty,  and  that  was  sufficient  for  me. 

fc  Having  thus  arranged  my  dwelling,  and  carpeted  it 
with  clean  straw,  I  retired ;  for  I  saw  the  figure  of  a  man 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  9 

at  a  distance,  and  I  remembered  too  well  my  treatment  the 
night  before,  to  trust  myself  in  his  power.  I  had  first, 
however,  provided  for  my  sustenance  for  that  day,  by  a  loaf 
of  coarse  bread,  which  I  purloined,  and  a  cup  with  which 
I  could  drink,  more  conveniently  than  from  my  hand,  of 
the  pure  water  which  flowed  by  my  retreat.  The  floor  was 
a  little  raised,  so  that  it  was  kept  perfectly  dry,  and  by  its 
vicinity  to  the  chimney  of  the  cottage  it  was  tolerably  warm, 

(e  Being  thus  provided,  I  resolved  to  reside  in  this  hovel, 
until  something  should  occur  which  might  alter  my  deter- 
mination. It  was  indeed  a  paradise,  compared  to  the 
bleak  forest,  my  former  residence,  the  rain-dropping 
branches,  and  dank  earth.  I  ate  my  breakfast  with  plea- 
sure, and  was  about  to  remove  a  plank  to  procure  myself 
a  little  water,  when  I  heard  a  step,  and  looking  through 
a  small  chink,  I  beheld  a  young  creature,  with  a  pail  on  her 
head,  passing  before  my  hovel.  The  girl  was  young,  and 
of  gentle  demeanour,  unlike  what  I  have  since  found  cot- 
tagers and  farm-house  servants  to  be.  Yet  she  was  meanly 
dressed,  a  coarse  blue  petticoat  and  a  linen  jacket  being 
her  only  garb  ;  her  fair  hair  was  plaited,  but  not  adorned : 
she  looked  patient,  yet  sad.  I  lost  sight  of  her  ;  and  in 
about  a  quarter  of  an  hour  she  returned,  bearing  the  pail, 
which  was  now  partly  filled  with  milk.  As  she  walked 
along,  seemingly  incommoded  by  the  burden,  a  young  man 
met  her,  whose  countenance  expressed  a  deeper  despond- 
ence. Uttering  a  few  sounds  with  an  air  of  melancholy, 
he  took  the  pail  from  her  head,  and  bore  it  to  the  cottage 
himself.  She  followed,  and  they  disappeared.  Presently  I 
saw  the  young  man  again,  with  some  tools  in  his  hand, 
cross  the  field  behind  the  cottage ;  and  the  girl  was  also 
busied,  sometimes  in  the  house,  and  sometimes  in  the  yard. 

"  On  examining  my  dwelling,  I  found  that  one  of  the 
windows  of  the  cottage  had  formerly  occupied  a  part  of  it, 
but  the  panes  had  been  filled  up  with  wood.  In  one  of 
these  was  a  small  and  almost  imperceptible  chink,  through 
which  the  eye  could  just  penetrate.  Through  this  crevice 
a  small  room  was  visible,  whitewashed  and  clean,  but  very 
bare  of  furniture.  In  one  corner,  near  a  small  fire,  sat  an 
old  man,  leaning  his  head  on  his  hands  in  a  disconsolate 


9*2  FRANKENSTEIN  j    OR, 

attitude.  The  young  girl  was  occupied  in  arranging  the 
cottage ;  but  presently  she  took  something  out  of  a  drawer, 
which  employed  her  hands.,  and  she  sat  down  beside  the  old 
man,  who,  taking  up  an  instrument,  began  to  play,  and  to 
produce  sounds  sweeter  than  the  voice  of  the  thrush  or  the 
nightingale.  It  was  a  lovely  sight,  even  to  rne,  poor  wretch ! 
who  had  never  beheld  aught  beautiful  before.  The  silver 
hair  and  benevolent  countenance  of  the  aged  cottager  won 
my  reverence,  while  the  gentle  manners  of  the  girl  enticed 
my  love.  He  played  a  sweet  mournful  air,  which  I  per- 
ceived drew  tears  from  the  eyes  of  his  amiable  companion, 
of  which  the  old  man  took  no  notice,  until  she  sobbed 
audibly;  he  then  pronounced  a  few  sounds,  and  the  fair 
creature,  leaving  her  work,  knelt  at  his  feet.  He  raised 
her,  and  smiled  with  such  kindness  and  affection,  that  I 
felt  sensations  of  a  peculiar  and  overpowering  nature :  they 
were  a  mixture  of  pain  and  pleasure,  such  as  I  had  never 
before  experienced,  either  from  hunger  or  cold,  warmth  or 
food;  and  I  withdrew  from  the  window,  unable  to  bear 
these  emotions. 

"  Soon  after  this  the  young  man  returned,  bearing  on 
his  shoulders  a  load  of  wood.  The  girl  met  him  at  the 
door,  helped  to  relieve  him  of  his  burden,  and,  taking  some 
of  the  fuel  into  the  cottage,  placed  it  on  the  fire ;  then  she 
and  the  youth  went  apart  into  a  nook  of  the  cottage,  and  he 
showed  her  a  large  loaf  and  a  piece  of  cheese.  She  seemed 
pleased,  and  went  into  the  garden  for  some  roots  and  plants, 
which  she  placed  in  water,  and  then  upon  the  fire.  She 
afterwards  continued  her  work,  whilst  the  young  man  went 
into  the  garden,  and  appeared  busily  employed  in  digging 
and  pulling  up  roots.  After  he  had  been  employed  thus 
about  an  hour,  the  young  woman  joined  him,  and  they 
entered  the  cottage  together. 

"  The  old  man  had,  in  the  mean  time,  bseix  pensive;  but, 
on  the  appearance  of  his  companions,  he  assumed  a  more 
cheerful  air,  and  they  sat  down  to  eat.  The  meal  was 
quickly  despatched.  The  young  woman  was  again  occupied 
in  arranging  the  cottage;  the  old  man  walked*  before  the 
cottage  in  the  sun  for  a  few  minutes,  leaning  on  the  arm  of 
the  youth.  Nothing  could  exceed  in  beauty  the  contrast 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  93 

between  these  two  excellent  creatures.  One  was  old,  with 
silver  hairs  and  a  countenance  beaming  with  benevolence 
and  love  :  the  younger  was  slight  and  graceful  in  his  figure, 
and  his  features  were  moulded  with  the  finest  symmetry; 
yet  his  eyes  and  attitude  expressed  the  utmost  sadness  and 
despondency.  The  old  man  returned  to  the  cottage ;  and 
the  youth,  with  tools  different  from  those  he  had  used  in 
the  morning,  directed  his  steps  across  the  fields. 

"  Night  quickly  shut  in ;  but,  to  my  extreme  wonder,  I 
found  that  the  cottagers  had  a  means  of  prolonging  light  by 
the  use  of  tapers,  and  was  delighted  to  find  that  the  setting 
of  the  sun  did  not  put  an  end  to  the  pleasure  I  experienced 
in  watching  my  human  neighbours.  In  the  evening,  the 
young  girl  and  her  companion  were  employed  in  various 
occupations  which  I  did  not  understand ;  and  the  old  man 
again  took  up  the  instrument  which  produced  the  divine 
sounds  that  had  enchanted  me  in  the  morning.  So  soon  as 
he  had  finished,  the  youth  began,  not  to  play,  but  to  utter 
sounds  that  were  monotonous,  and  neither  resembling  the 
harmony  of  the  old  man's  instrument  nor  the  songs  of  the 
birds :  I  since  found  that  he  read  aloud,  but  at  that  time  I 
knew  nothing  of  the  science  of  words  or  letters. 

"  The  family,  after  having  been  thus  occupied  for  a 
short  time,  extinguished  their  lights,  and  retired,  as  I  con- 
jectured, to  rest. 


CHAPTER  XII. 

<(  I  LAY  on  my  straw,  but  I  could  not  sleep.  I  thought  of 
the  occurrences  of  the  day.  What  chiefly  struck  me  was 
the  gentle  manners  of  these  people ;  and  I  longed  to  join 
them,  but  dared  not.  I  remembered  too  well  the  treatment 
I  had  suffered  the  night  before  from  the  barbarous  villagers, 
and  resolved,  whatever  course  of  conduct  I  might  hereafter 
think  it  right  to  pursue,  that  for  the  present  I  would  remain 
quietly  in  my  hovel,  watching,  and  endeavouring  to  discover 
the  motives  which  influenced  their  actions. 

fe  The  cottagers  arose  the  next  morning  before  the  sun. 


94  FRANKENSTEIN  ;    OR, 

The  young  woman  arranged  the  cottage,  and  prepared  the 
food ;  and  the  youth  departed  after  the  first  meal. 

"  This  day  was  passed  in  the  same  routine  as  that  which 
preceded  it.  The  young  man  was  constantly  employed 
out  of  doors,  and  the  girl  in  various  laborious  occupations 
within.  The  old  man,  whom  I  soon  perceived  to  be  blind, 
employed  his  leisure  hours  on  his  instrument  or  in  con- 
templation. Nothing  could  exceed  the  love  and  respect 
which  the  younger  cottagers  exhibited  towards  their  vene- 
rable companion.  They  performed  towards  him  every 
little  office  of  affection  and  duty  with  gentleness ;  and  he 
rewarded  them  by  his  benevolent  smiles. 

"  They  were  not  entirely  happy.  The  young  man  and 
his  companion  often  went  apart,  and  appeared  to  weep.  I 
saw  no  cause  for  their  unhappiness ;  but  I  was  deeply 
affected  by  it.  If  such  lovely  creatures  were  miserable,  it 
was  less  strange  that  I,  an  imperfect  and  solitary  being, 
should  be  wretched.  Yet  why  were  these  gentle  beings 
unhappy  ?  They  possessed  a  delightful  house  (for  such  it 
was  in  my  eyes)  and  every  luxury ;  they  had  a  fire  to  warm 
them  when  chill,  and  delicious  viands  when  hungry ;  they 
were  dressed  in  excellent  clothes  :  and,  still  more,  they  en- 
joyed one  another's  company  and  speech,  interchanging 
each  day  looks  of  affection  and  kindness.  What  did  their 
tears  imply  ?  Did  they  really  express  pain  ?  I  was  at  first 
unable  to  solve  these  questions ;  but  perpetual  attention  and 
time  explained  to  me  many  appearances  which  were  at  first 
enigmatic. 

f(  A  considerable  period  elapsed  before  I  discovered  one 
of  the  causes  of  the  uneasiness  of  this  amiable  family :  it 
was  poverty ;  and  they  suffered  that  evil  in  a  very  distressing 
degree.  Their  nourishment  consisted  entirely  of  the  vege- 
tables of  their  garden,  and  the  milk  of  one  cow,  which  gave 
very  little  during  the  winter,  when  its  masters  could  scarcely 
procure  food  to  support  it.  They  often,  I  believe,  suffered 
the  pangs  of  hunger  very  poignantly,  especially  the  two 
younger  cottagers ;  for  several  times  they  placed  food  before 
the  old  man,  when  they  reserved  none  for  themselves. 

"  This  trait  of  kindness  moved  me  sensibly.  I  had  been 
accustomed,  during  the  night,  to  steal  a  part  of  their  store 


THE    JIODEBN    PROMETHEUS.  95 

for  my  own  consumption ;  but  when  I  found  that  in  doing 
this  I  inflicted  pain  on  the  cottagers,  I  abstained,  and  satis- 
fied myself  with  berries,  nuts,  and  roots,  which  I  gathered 
from  a  neighbouring  wood. 

"  I  discovered  also  another  means  through  which  I  was 
enabled  to  assist  their  labours.  I  found  that  the  youth 
spent  a  great  part  of  each  day  in  collecting  wood  for  the 
family  fire ;  and,  during  the  night,  I  often  took  his  tools, 
the  use  of  which  I  quickly  discovered,  and  brought  home 
firing  sufficient  for  the  consumption  of  several  days. 

"  I  remember,  the  first  time  that  I  did  this,  the  young 
woman,  when  she  opened  the  door  in  the  morning,  appeared 
greatly  astonished  on  seeing  a  great  pile  of  wood  on  the 
outside.  She  uttered  some  words  in  a  loud  voice,  and  the 
youth  joined  her,  who  also  expressed  surprise.  I  observed, 
with  pleasure,  that  he  did  not  go  to  the  forest  that  day,  but 
spent  it  in  repairing  the  cottage,  and  cultivating  the  garden. 

(e  By  degrees  I  made  a  discovery  of  still  greater  moment. 
I  found  that  these  people  possessed  a  method  of  commu- 
nicating their  experience  and  feelings  to  one  another  by 
articulate  sounds.  I  perceived  that  the  words  they  spoke 
sometimes,  produced  pleasure  or  pain,  smiles  or  sadness,  in 
the  minds  and  countenances  of  the  hearers.  This  was  in- 
deed a  godlike  science,  and  I  ardently  desired  to  become 
acquainted  with  it.  But  I  was  baffled  in  every  attempt  I 
made  for  this  purpose.  Their  pronunciation  was  quick  ; 
and  the  words  they  uttered,  not  having  any  apparent  con- 
nection with  visible  objects,  I  was  unable  to  discover  any 
clue  by  which  I  could  unravel  the  mystery  of  their  refer- 
ence. By  great  application,  however,  and  after  having  re- 
mained during  the  space  of  several  revolutions  of  the  moon 
in  my  hovel,  I  discovered  the  names  that  were  given  to 
some  of  the  most  familiar  objects  of  discourse  ;  I  learned 
and  applied  the  words,  fire,  milk,  bread,  and  wood.  I 
learned  also  the  names  of  the  cottagers  themselves.  The 
youth  and  his  companion  had  each  of  them  several  names^ 
but  the  old  man  had  only  one,  which  was  father.  The 
girl  was  called  sister,  or  Agatha;  and  the  youth  Felix,  bro- 
ther, or  son.  I  cannot  describe  the  delight  I  felt  when  I 
learned  the  ideas  appropriated  to  each  of  these  sounds,  and 


96  FRANKENSTEIN;  OR, 

was  able  to  pronounce  them.  I  distinguished  several  other 
words,  without  being  able  as  yet  to  understand  or  apply 
them  ;  such  as  good,  dearest,  unhappy. 

"  I  spent  the  winter  in  this  manner.  The  gentle  man- 
ners and  beauty  of  the  cottagers  greatly  endeared  them  to 
me :  when  they  were  unhappy,,  I  felt  depressed ;  when 
they  rejoiced,  I  sympathised  in  their  joys.  I  saw  few  hu- 
man beings  beside  them;  and  if  any  other  happened  to 
enter  the  cottage,  their  harsh  manners  and  rude  gait  only 
enhanced  to  me  the  superior  accomplishments  of  my  friends. 
The  old  man,  I  could  perceive,  often  endeavoured  to  en- 
courage his  children,  as  sometimes  I  found  that  he  called 
them,  to  cast  off  their  melancholy.  He  would  talk  in  a 
cheerful  accent,  with  an  expression  of  goodness  that  be- 
stowed pleasure  even  upon  me.  Agatha  listened  with 
respect,  her  eyes  sometimes  filled  with  tears,  which  she 
endeavoured  to  wipe  away  unperceived  ;  but  I  generally 
found  that  her  countenance  and  tone  were  more  cheerful 
after  having  listened  to  the  exhortations  of  her  father.  It 
was  not  thus  with  Felix.  He  was  always  the  saddest  of 
the  group ;  and,  even  to  my  unpractised  senses,  he  ap- 
peared to  have  suffered  more  deeply  than  his  friends.  But 
if  his  countenance  was  more  sorrowful,  his  voice  was  more 
cheerful  than  that  of  his  sister,  especially  when  he  addressed 
the  old  man. 

<e  I  could  mention  innumerable  instances,  which,  al- 
though slight,  marked  the  dispositions  of  these  amiable 
cottagers.  In  the  midst  of  poverty  and  want,  Felix  carried 
with  pleasure  to  his  sister  the  first  little  white  flower  that 
peeped  out  from  beneath  the  snowy  ground.  Early  in  the 
morning,  before  she  had  risen,  he  cleared  away  the  snow  that 
obstructed  lier  path  to  the  milk-house,  drew  water  from  the 
well,  and  brought  the  wood  from  the  out-house,  where,  to 
his  perpetual  astonishment,  he  found  his  store  always  re- 
plenished by  an  invisible  hand.  In  the  day,  I  believe,  he 
worked  sometimes  for  a  neighbouring  farmer,  because  he 
often  went  forth,  and  did  not  return  until  dinner,  yet 
brought  no  wood  with  him.  At  other  times  he  worked  in 
the  garden ;  but,  as  there  was  little  to  do  in  the  frosty  sea- 
son, he  read  to  the  old  man  and  Agatha. 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  97 

"  This  reading  had  puzzled  me  extremely  at  first;  but, 
by  degrees,  I  discovered  that  he  uttered  many  of  the  same 
sounds  when  he  read,  as  when  he  talked.  I  conjectured, 
therefore,  that  he  found  on  the  paper  signs  for  speech  which 
he  understood,  and  I  ardently  longed  to  comprehend  these 
also ;  but  how  was  that  possible,  when  I  did  not  even  un- 
derstand the  sounds  for  which  they  stood  as  signs  ?  I  im- 
proved, however,  sensibly  in  this  science,  but  not  sufficiently 
to  follow  up  any  kind  of  conversation,  although  I  applied 
my  whole  mind  to  the  endeavour :  for  I  easily  perceived 
that,  although  I  eagerly  longed  to  discover  myself  to  the 
cottagers,  I  ought  not  to  make  the  attempt  until  I  had  first 
become  master  of  their  language ;  which  knowledge  might 
enable  me  to  make  them  overlook  the  deformity  of  my 
figure  ;  for  with  this  also  the  contrast  perpetually  presented 
to  my  eyes  had  made  me  acquainted. 

"  I  had  admired  the  perfect  forms  of  my  cottagers  — 
their  grace,  beauty,  and  delicate  complexions  :  but  how  was 
I  terrified,  when  I  viewed  myself  in  a  transparent  pool  ! 
Ai  first  I  started  back,  unable  to  believe  that  it  was  indeed 
I  who  was  reflected  in  the  mirror;  and  when  I  became 
fully  convinced  that  I  was  in  reality  the  monster  that  I 
am,  I  was  filled  with  the  bitterest  sensations  of  despondence 
and  mortification.  Alas  !  I  did  not  yet  entirely  know  the 
fatal  effects  of  this  miserable  deformity. 

"  As  the  sun  became  warmer,  and  the  light  of  day  longer, 
the  snow  vanished,  and  I  beheld  the  bare  trees  and  the 
black  earth.  From  this  time  Felix  was  more  employed  ; 
and  the  heart-moving  indications  of  impending  famine  dis- 
appeared. Their  food,  as  I  afterwards  found,  was  coarse, 
but  it  was  wholesome  ;  and  they  procured  a  sufficiency  of 
it.  Several  new  kinds  of  plants  sprung  up  in  the  garden, 
which  they  dressed ;  and  these  signs  of  comfort  increased 
daily  as  the  season  advanced. 

"  The  old  man,  leaning  on  his  son,  walked  each  day  at 
noon,  when  it  did  not  rain,  as  I  found  it  was  called  when 
the  heavens  poured  forth  its  waters.  This  frequently  took 
place  ;  but  a  high  wind  quickly  dried  the  earth,  and  the 
season  became  far  more  pleasant  than  it  had  been. 

"  My  mode  of  life  in  my  hovel  was  uniform.     During 
H 


98  FRANKENSTEIN;  OB, 

the  morning,  I  attended  the  motions  of  the  cottagers ;  and 
when  they  were  dispersed  in  various  occupations,  I  slept  : 
the  remainder  of  the  day  was  spent  in  observing  my  friends. 
When  they  had  retired  to  rest,  if  there  was  any  moon,  or 
the  night  was  star-light,  I  went  into  the  woods,  and  collected 
my  own  food  and  fuel  for  the  cottage.  When  I  returned, 
as  often  as  it  was  necessary,  I  cleared  their  path  from  the 
snow,  and  performed  those  offices  that  I  had  seen  done  by 
Felix.  I  afterwards  found  that  these  labours,  performed 
by  an  invisible  hand,  greatly  astonished  them ;  and  once  or 
twice  I  heard  them,  on  these  occasions,  utter  the  words 
good  spirit,  wonderful ;  but  I  did  not  then  understand  the 
signification  of  these  terms. 

"  My  thoughts  now  became  more  active,  and  I  longed  to 
discover  the  motives  and  feelings  of  these  lovely  creatures ; 
I  was  inquisitive  to  know  why  Felix  appeared  so  miserable, 
and  Agatha  so  sad.  I  thought  (foolish  wretch !)  that  it 
might  be  in  my  power  to  restore  happiness  to  these  deserv- 
ing people.  When  I  slept,  or  was  absent,  the  forms  of  the 
venerable  blind  father,  the  gentle  Agatha,  and  the  excellent 
Felix,  flitted  before  me.  I  looked  upon  them  as  superior 
beings,  who  would  be  the  arbiters  of  my  future  destiny.  I 
formed  in  my  imagination  a  thousand  pictures  of  presenting 
myself  to  them,  and  their  reception  of  me.  I  imagined 
that  they  would  be  disgusted,  until,  by  my  gentle  demeanour 
and  conciliating  words,  I  should  first  win  their  favour,  and 
afterwards  their  love. 

"  These  thoughts  exhilarated  me,  and  led  me  to  apply 
with  fresh  ardour  to  the  acquiring  the  art  of  language. 
My  organs  were  indeed  harsh,  but  supple ;  and  although 
my  voice  was  very  unlike  the  soft  music  of  their  tones,  yet 
I  pronounced  such  words  as  I  understood  with  tolerable 
ease.  It  was  as  the  ass  and  the  lap-dog  j  yet  surely  the 
gentle  ass  whose  intentions  were  affectionate,  although  his 
manners  were  rude,  deserved  better  treatment  than  blows 
and  execration. 

"  The  pleasant  showers  and  genial  warmth  of  spring 
greatly  altered  the  aspect  of  the  earth.  Men,  who  before 
this  change  seemed  to  have  been  hid  in  caves,  dispersed 
themselves,  and  were  employed  in  various  arts  of  cultiva- 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  99 

tion.  The  birds  sang  in  more  cheerful  notes,  and  the 
leaves  began  to  bud  forth  on  the  trees.  Happy,  happy 
earth  !  fit  habitation  for  gods,  which,  so  short  a  time  before, 
was  bleak,  damp,  and  unwholesome.  My  spirits  were  ele- 
vated by  the  enchanting  appearance  of  nature  ;  the  past 
was  blotted  from  my  memory,  the  present  was  tranquil,  and 
the  future  gilded  by  bright  rays  of  hope,  and  anticipations 
of  joy." 


CHAPTER  XIII. 

"  I  NOW  hasten  to  the  more  moving  part  of  my  story.  I 
shall  relate  events,  that  impressed  me  with  feelings  which, 
from  what  I  had  been,  have  made  me  what  I  am. 

"  Spring  advanced  rapidly  ;  the  weather  became  fine, 
and  the  skies  cloudless.  It  surprised  me,  that  what  before 
was  desert  and  gloomy  should  now  bloom  with  the  most 
beautiful  flowers  and  verdure.  My  senses  were  gratified 
and  refreshed  by  a  thousand  scents  of  delight,  and  a  thou- 
sand sights  of  beauty. 

"  It  was  on  one  of  these  days,  when  my  cottagers  period- 
ically rested  from  labour  —  the  old  man  played  on  his 
guitar,  and  the  children  listened  to  him  —  that  I  observed 
the  countenance  of  Felix  was  melancholy  beyond  expres- 
sion ;  he  sighed  frequently ;  and  once  his  father  paused  in 
his  music,  and  I  conjectured  by  his  manner  that  he  en- 
quired the  cause  of  his  son's  sorrow.  Felix  replied  in  a 
cheerful  accent,  and  the  old  man  was  recommencing  his 
music,  when  some  one  tapped  at  the  door. 

"  It  was  a  lady  on  horseback,  accompanied  by  a  coun  • 
tryman  as  a  guide.  The  lady  was  dressed  in  a  dark  suit, 
and  covered  with  a  thick  black  veil.  Agatha  asked  a  ques- 
tion ;  to  which  the  stranger  only  replied  by  pronouncing,  in. 
a  sweet  accent,  the  name  of  Felix.  Her  voice  was  musical, 
but  unlike  that  of  either  of  my  friends.  On  hearing  this 
word,  Felix  came  up  hastily  to  the  lady ;  who,  when  she 
saw  him,  threw  up  her  veil,  and  I  beheld  a  countenance  of 
angelic  beauty  and  expression.  Her  hair  of  a  shining 

H    2 


100  FRANKENSTEIN;  on, 

raven  black,  and  curiously  braided;  her  eyes  were  dark, 
but  gentle,  although  animated ;  her  features  of  a  regular 
proportion,  and  her  complexion  wondrously  fair,  each  cheek 
tinged  with  a  lovely  pink. 

"  Felix  seemed  ravished  with  delight  when  he  saw  her, 
every  trait  of  sorrow  vanished  from  his  face,  and  it  in- 
stantly expressed  a  degree  of  ecstatic  joy,  of  which  I  could 
hardly  have  believed  it  capable ;  his  eyes  sparkled,  as  his 
cheek  flushed  with  pleasure  ;  and  at  that  moment  I  thought 
him  as  beautiful  as  the  stranger.  She  appeared  affected  by 
different  feelings ;  wiping  a  few  tears  from  her  lovely  eyes, 
she  held  out  her  hand  to  Felix,  who  kissed  it  rapturously, 
and  called  her,  as  well  as  I  could  distinguish,  his  sweet 
Arabian.  She  did  not  appear  to  understand  him,  but 
smiled.  He  assisted  her  to  dismount,  and  dismissing  her 
guide,  conducted  her  into  the  cottage.  Some  conversation 
took  place  between  him  and  his  father;  and  the  young 
stranger  knelt  at  the  old  man's  feet,  and  would  have  kissed 
his  hand,  but  he  raised  her,  and  embraced  her  affectionately. 

"  I  soon  perceived,  that  although  the  stranger  uttered 
articulate  sounds,  and  appeared  to  have  a  language  of  her 
own,  she  was  neither  understood  by,  nor  herself  understood, 
the  cottagers.  They  made  many  signs  jwhich  I  did  not 
comprehend;  but  I  saw  that  her  presence  diffused  gladness 
through  the  cottage,  dispelling  their  sorrow  as  the  sun  dissi- 
pates the  morning  mists.  Felix  seemed  peculiarly  happy, 
and  with  smiles  of  delight  welcomed  his  Arabian.  Agatha, 
the  ever-gentle  Agatha,  kissed  the  hands  of  the  lovely  stran- 
ger ;  and,  pointing  to  her  brother,  made  signs  which  ap- 
peared to  me  to  mean  that  he  had  been  sorrowful  until  she 
came.  Some  hours  passed  thus,  while  they,  by  their  coun- 
tenances, expressed  joy,  the  cause  of  which  I  did  not  com- 
prehend. Presently  I  found,  by  the  frequent  recurrence 
of  some  sound  which  the  stranger  repeated  after  them,  that 
she  was  endeavouring  to  learn  their  language  ;  and  the  idea 
instantly  occurred  to  me,  that  I  should  make  use  of  the 
same  instructions  to  the  same  end.  The  stranger  learned 
about  twenty  words  at  the  first  lesson,  most  of  them,  indeed, 
were  those  which  I  had  before  understood,  but  I  profited  by 
the  others. 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  101 

fe  As  night  came  on,  Agatha  and  the  Arabian  retired 
early.  When  they  separated,  Felix  kissed  the  hand  of  the 
stranger,  and  said,  e  Good  night,  sweet  Safie/  He  sat  up 
much  longer,  conversing  with  his  father ;  and,  by  the  fre- 
quent repetition  of  her  name,  I  conjectured  that  their  lovely 
guest  was  the  subject  of  their  conversation.  I  ardently 
desired  to  understand  them,  and  bent  every  faculty  towards 
that  purpose,  but  found  it  utterly  impossible. 

(<  The  next  morning  Felix  went  out  to  his  wt)rk ;  and, 
after  the  usual  occupations  of  Agatha  were  finished,  the 
Arabian  sat  at  the  feet  of  the  old  man,  and,  taking  his 
guitar,  played  some  airs  so  entrancingly  beautiful,  that  they 
at  once  drew  tears  of  sorrow  and  delight  from  my  eyes. 
She  sang,  and  her  voice  flowed  in  a  rich  cadence,  swelling 
or  dying  away,  like  a  nightingale  of  the  woods. 

ce  When  she  had  finished,  she  gave  the  guitar  to  Agatha, 
who  at  first  declined  it.  She  played  a  simple  air,  and  her 
voice  accompanied  it  in  sweet  accents,  but  unlike  the  won- 
drous strain  of  the  stranger.  The  old  man  appeared  en- 
raptured, and  said  some  words,  which  Agatha  endeavoured 
to  explain  to  Safie,  and  by  which  he  appeared  to  wish  to 
express  that  she  bestowed  on  him  the  greatest  delight  by 
her  music. 

"  The  days  now  passed  as  peaceably  as  before,  with  the 
sole  alteration,  that  joy  had  taken  place  of  sadness  in  the 
countenances  of  my  friends.  Safie  was  always  gay  and 
happy ;  she  and  I  improved  rapidly  in  the  knowledge  of 
language,  so  that  in  two  months  I  began  to  comprehend 
most  of  the  words  uttered  by  my  protectors. 

"  In  the  meanwhile  also  the  black  ground  was  covered 
with  herbage,  and  the  green  banks  interspersed  with  innu- 
merable flowers,  sweet  to  the  scent  and  the  eyes,  stars  of 
pale  radiance  among  the  moonlight  woods ;  the  sun  became 
warmer,  the  nights  clear  and  balmy  ;  and  my  nocturnal 
rambles  were  an  extreme  pleasure  to  me,  although  they 
were  considerably  shortened  by  the  late  setting  and  early 
rising  of  the  sun  ;  for  I  never  ventured  abroad  during  day- 
light, fearful  of  meeting  with  the  same  treatment  I  had 
formerly  endured  in  the  first  village  which  I  entered. 

"  My  days  were  spent  in  close  attention,  that  I  might 
H  3 


102  FRANKENSTEIN;  OB, 

more  speedily  master  the  language ;  and  I  may  boast  that 
I  improved  more  rapidly  than  the  Arabian,  who  under- 
stood very  little,  and  conversed  in  broken  accents,  whilst  I 
comprehended  and  could  imitate  almost  every  word  that  was 
spoken. 

"  While  I  improved  in  speech,  I  also  learned  the  science 
of  letters,  as  it  was  taught  to  the  stranger ;  and  this  opened 
before  me  a  wide  field  for  wonder  and  delight. 

"The  book  from  which  Felix  instructed  Safie  was  Volney's 
'  Ruins  of  Empires/  I  should  not  have  understood  the 
purport  of  this  book,  had  not  Felix,  in  reading  it,  given 
very  minute  explanations.  He  had  chosen  this  work,  he 
said,  because  the  declamatory  style  was  framed  in  imitation 
of  the  eastern  authors.  Through  this  work  I  obtained  a 
cursory  knowledge  of  history,  and  a  view  of  the  several 
empires  at  present  existing  in  the  world;  it  gave  me  an 
insight  into  the  manners,  governments,  and  religions  of  the 
different  nations  of  the  earth.  I  heard  of  the  slothful 
Asiatics;  of  the  stupendous  genius  and  mental  activity  of 
the  Grecians ;  of  the  wars  and  wonderful  virtue  of  the 
early  Romans — of  their  subsequent  degenerating — of  the 
decline  of  that  mighty  empire ;  of  chivalry,  Christianity, 
and  kings.  I  heard  of  the  discovery  of  the  American  he- 
misphere, and  wept  with  Safie  over  the  hapless  fate  of  its 
original  inhabitants. 

"  These  wonderful  narrations  inspired  me  with  strange 
feelings.  Was  man,  indeed,  at  once  so  powerful,  so  vir- 
tuous, and  magnificent,  yet  so  vicious  and  base  ?  He  ap- 
peared at  one  time  a  mere  scion  of  the  evil  principle,  and  at 
another,  as  all  that  can  be  conceived  of  noble  and  godlike. 
To  be  a  great  and  virtuous  man  appeared  the  highest  honour 
that  can  befall  a  sensitive  being ;  to  be  base  and  vicious,  as 
many  on  record  have  been,  appeared  the  lowest  degradation, 
a  condition  more  abject  than  that  of  the  blind  mole  or 
harmless  worm.  For  a  long  time  I  could  not  conceive 
how  one  man  could  go  forth  to  murder  his  fellow,  or  even 
why  there  were  laws  and  governments ;  but  when  I  heard 
details  of  vice  and  bloodshed,  my  wonder  ceased,  and  I 
turned  away  with  disgust  and  loathing. 

"  Every  conversation  of  the  cottagers  now  opened  new 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  103 

wonders  to  me.  While  I  listened  to  the  instructions  which 
Felix  bestowed  upon  the  Arabian,  the  strange  system  of 
human  society  was  explained  to  me.  I  heard  of  the  division 
of  property,  of  immense  wealth  and  squalid  poverty;  of 
rank,  descent,  and  noble  blood. 

"  The  words  induced  me  to  turn  towards  myself.  I 
learned  that  the  possessions  most  esteemed  by  your  fellow- 
creatures  were,  high  and  unsullied  descent  united  with 
riches.  A  man  might  be  respected  with  only  one  of  these 
advantages ;  but,  without  either,  he  was  considered,  ex- 
cept in  very  rare  instances,  as  a  vagabond  and  a  slave, 
doomed  to  waste  his  powers  for  the  profits  of  the  chosen  few ! 
And  what  was  I  ?  Of  my  creation  and  creator  I  was  ab- 
solutely ignorant ;  but  I  knew  that  I  possessed  no  money, 
no  friends,  no  kind  of  property.  I  was,  besides,  endued 
with  a  figure  hideously  deformed  and  loathsome;  I  was 
not  even  of  the  same  nature  as  man.  I  was  more  agile  than 
they,  and  could  subsist  upon  coarser  diet ;  I  bore  the  ex- 
tremes of  heat  and  cold  with  less  injury  to  my  frame ;  my 
stature  far  exceeded  theirs.  When  I  looked  around,  I 
saw  and  heard  of  none  like  me.  Was  I  then  a  monster,  a 
blot  upon  the  earth,  from  which  all  men  fled,  and  whom  all 
men  disowned  ? 

"  I  cannot  describe  to  you  the  agony  that  these  re- 
flections inflicted  upon  me :  I  tried  to  dispel  them,  but 
sorrow  only  increased  with  knowledge.  Oh,  that  I  had  for 
ever  remained  in  my  native  wood,  nor  known  nor  felt 
beyond  the  sensations  of  hunger,  thirst,  and  heat ! 

"  Of  what  a  strange  nature  is  knowledge !  It  clings  to 
the  mind,  when  it  has  once  seized  on  it,  like  a  lichen  on 
the  rock.  I  wished  sometimes  to  shake  off  all  thought  and 
feeling ;  but  I  learned  that  there  was  but  one  means  to 
overcome  the  sensation  of  pain,  and  that  was  death — a 
state  which  I  feared  yet  did  not  understand.  I  admired 
virtue  and  good  feelings,  and  loved  the  gentle  manners  and 
amiable  qualities  of  my  cottagers  ;  but  I  was  shut  out  from 
intercourse  with  them,  except  through  means  which  I  ob- 
tained by  stealth,  when  I  was  unseen  and  unknown,  and 
which  rather  increased  than  satisfied  the  desire  I  had  of 
becoming  one  among  my  fellows.  The  gentle  words  of 
H  4 


1 04*  FRANKENSTEIN  ;    OB, 

Agatha,  and  the  animated  smiles  of  the  charming  Arabian, 
were  not  for  me.  The  mild  exhortations  of  the  old  man, 
and  the  lively  conversation  of  the  loved  Felix,  were  not  for 
me.  Miserable,  unhappy  wretch  ! 

"  Other  lessons  were  impressed  upon  me  even  more 
deeply.  I  heard  of  the  difference  of  sexes ;  and  the  birth 
and  growth  of  children;  how  the  father  doated  on  the 
smiles  of  the  infant,  and  the  lively  sallies  of  the  older  child ; 
how  ah1  the  life  and  cares  of  the  mother  were  wrapped  up 
in  the  precious  charge ;  how  the  mind  of  youth  expanded 
and  gained  knowledge ;  of  brother,  sister,  and  all  the  various 
relationships  which  bind  one  human  being  to  another  in 
mutual  bonds. 

' '  But  where  were  my  friends  and  relations  ?  No  father 
had  watched  my  infant  days,  no  mother  had  blessed  me 
with  smiles  and  caresses ;  or  if  they  had,  all  my  past  life 
was  now  a  blot,  a  blind  vacancy  in  which  I  distinguished 
nothing.  From  my  earliest  remembrance  I  had  been  as  I 
then  was  in  height  and  proportion.  I  had  never  yet  seen 
a  being  resembling  me,  or  who  claimed  any  intercourse  with 
me.  What  was  I?  The  question  again  recurred,  to  be 


answered  only  with  groans. 
"  I  will  soon  explain  to  \ 


to  what  these  feelings  tended ;  but 
allow  me  now  to  return  to  the  cottagers,  whose  story  excited 
in  me  such  various  feelings  of  indignation,  delight,  and 
wonder,  but  which  all  terminated  in  additional  love  and 
reverence  for  my  protectors  (for  so  I  loved,  in  an  innocent, 
half  painful  self-deceit,  to  call  them). 


CHAPTER  XIV. 

"  SOME  time  elapsed  before  I  learned  the  history  of  my 
friends.  It  was  one  which  could  not  fail  to  impress  itself 
deeply  on  my  mind,  unfolding  as  it  did  a  number  of  cir- 
cumstances, each  interesting  and  wonderful  to  one  so  utterly 
inexperienced  as  I  was. 

"  The  name  of  the  old  man  was  De  Lacey.     He  was 
descended  from  a  good  family  in  France,  where  he  had 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  105 

lived  for  many  years  in  affluence,  respected  by  his  superiors, 
and  beloved  by  his  equals.  His  son  was  bred  in  the  service 
of  his  country ;  and  Agatha  had  ranked  with  ladies  of  the 
highest  distinction.  A  few  months  before  my  arrival,  they 
had  lived  in  a  large  and  luxurious  city,  called  Paris,  sur- 
rounded by  friends,  and  possessed  of  every  enjoyment  which 
virtue,  refinement  of  intellect,  or  taste,  accompanied  by  a 
moderate  fortune,  could  afford. 

"  The  father  of  Safie  had  been  the  cause  of  their  ruin. 
He  was  a  Turkish  merchant,  and  had  inhabited  Paris  for 
many  years,  when,  for  some  reason  which  I  could  not 
learn,  he  became  obnoxious  to  the  government.  He  was 
seized  and  cast  into  prison  the  very  day  that  Safie  arrived 
from  Constantinople  to  join  him.  He  was  tried,  and  con- 
demned to  death.  The  injustice  of  his  sentence  was  very 
flagrant ;  all  Paris  was  indignant ;  and  it  was  judged  that 
his  religion  and  wealth,  rather  than  the  crime  alleged  against 
him,  had  been  the  cause  of  his  condemnation. 

"  Felix  had  accidentally  been  present  at  the  trial ;  his 
horror  and  indignation  were  uncontrollable,  when  he  heard 
the  decision  of  the  court.  He  made,  at  that  moment,  a 
solemn  vow  to  deliver  him,  and  then  looked  around  for  the 
means.  After  many  fruitless  attempts  to  gain  admittance 
to  the  prison,  he  found  a  strongly  grated  window  in  an  un- 
guarded part  of  the  building,  which  lighted  the  dungeon  of 
the  unfortunate  Mahometan;  who,  loaded  with  chains, 
waited  in  despair  the  execution  of  the  barbarous  sentence. 
Felix  visited  the  grate  at  night,  and  made  known  to  the 
prisoner  his  intentions  in  his  favour.  The  Turk,  amazed 
and  delighted,  endeavoured  to  kindle  the  zeal  of  his  deli- 
verer by  promises  of  reward  and  wealth.  Felix  rejected 
his  offers  with  contempt  j  yet  when  he  saw  the  lovely 
Safie,  who  was  allowed  to  visit  her  father,  and  who,  by  her 
gestures,  expressed  her  lively  gratitude,  the  youth  could 
not  help  owning  to  his  own  mind,  that  the  captive  pos- 
sessed a  treasure  which  would  fully  reward  his  toil  and 
hazard. 

:e  The  Turk  quickly  perceived  the  impression  that  his 
daughter  had  made  on  the  heart  of  Felix,  and  endeavoured 
re  him  more  entirely  in  his  interests  by  the  promise 


- 


106  FRANKENSTEIN;  OB, 

of  her  hand  in  marriage,  so  soon  as  he  should  he  conveyed 
to  a  place  of  safety.  Felix  was  too  delicate  to  accept  this 
offer  ;  yet  he  looked  forward  to  the  probability  of  the  event 
as  to  the  consummation  of  his  happiness. 

"  During  the  ensuing  days,  while  the  preparations  were 
going  forward  for  the  escape  of  the  merchant,  the  zeal 
of  Felix  was  warmed  by  several  letters  that  he  received 
from  this  lovely  girl,  who  found  means  to  express  her 
thoughts  in  the  language  of  her  lover  by  the  aid  of  an  old 
man,  a  servant  of  her  father,  who  understood  French.  She 
thanked  him  in  the  most  ardent  terms  for  his  intended  ser- 
vices towards  her  parent ;  and  at  the  same  time  she  gently 
deplored  her  own  fate. 

"  I  have  copies  of  these  letters ;  for  I  found  means, 
during  my  residence  in  the  hovel,  to  procure  the  imple- 
ments of  writing ;  and  the  letters  were  often  in  the  hands 
of  Felix  or  Agatha.  Before  I  depart,  I  will  give  them  to 
you,  they  will  prove  the  truth  of  my  tale ;  but  at  present, 
as  the  sun  is  already  far  declined,  I  shall  only  have  time  to 
repeat  the  substance  of  them  to  you. 

"  Safie  related,  that  her  mother  was  a  Christian  Arab, 
seized  and  made  a  slave  by  the  Turks  j  recommended  by 
her  beauty,  she  had  won  the  heart  of  the  father  of  Safie, 
who  married  her.  The  young  girl  spoke  in  high  and  en- 
thusiastic terms  of  her  mother,  who,  born  in  freedom, 
spurned  the  bondage  to  which  she  was  now  reduced.  She 
instructed  her  daughter  in  the  tenets  of  her  religion,  and 
taught  her  to  aspire  to  higher  powers  of  intellect,  and  an 
independence  of  spirit,  forbidden  to  the  female  followers  of 
Mahomet.  This  lady  died ;  but  her  lessons  were  indelibly 
impressed  on  the  mind  of  Safie,  who  sickened  at  the  pro- 
spect of  again  returning  to  Asia,  and  being  immured  within 
the  walls  of  a  haram,  allowed  only  to  occupy  herself  with 
infantile  amusements,  ill  suited  to  the  temper  of  her 
soul,  now  accustomed  to  grand  ideas  and  a  noble  emulation 
for  virtue.  The  prospect  of  marrying  a  Christian,  and 
remaining  in  a  country  where  women  were  allowed  to  take 
a  rank  in  society,  was  enchanting  to  her. 

ff  The  day  for  the  execution  of  the  Turk  was  fixed  ;  but, 
on  the  night  previous  to  it,  he  quitted  his  prison,  and  be- 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  107 

fore  morning  was  distant  many  leagues  from  Paris.  Felix 
had  procured  passports  in  the  name  of  his  father,  sister, 
and  himself.  He  had  previously  communicated  his  plan 
to  the  former,  who  aided  the  deceit  by  quitting  his  house, 
under  the  pretence  of  a  journey,  and  concealed  himself,  with 
his  daughter,  in  an  obscure  part  of  Paris. 

"  Felix  conducted  the  fugitives  through  France  to  Lyons, 
and  across  Mont  Cenis  to  Leghorn,  where  the  merchant  had 
decided  to  wait  a  favourable  opportunity  of  passing  into 
some  part  of  the  Turkish  dominions. 

"  Safie  resolved  to  remain  with  her  father  until  the  mo- 
ment of  his  departure,  before  which  time  the  Turk  re- 
newed his  promise  that  she  should  be  united  to  his  deliverer; 
and  Felix  remained  with  them  in  expectation  of  that  event; 
and  in  the  mean  time  he  enjoyed  the  society  of  the  Arabian, 
who  exhibited  towards  him  the  simplest  and  tenderest  af- 
fection. They  conversed  with  one  another  through  the 
means  of  an  interpreter,  arid  sometimes  with  the  interpret- 
ation of  looks ;  and  Safie  sang  to  him  the  divine  airs  of  her 
native  country. 

"  The  Turk  allowed  this  intimacy  to  take  place,  and 
encouraged  the  hopes  of  the  youthful  lovers,  while  in  his 
hearj;  he  had  formed  far  other  plans.  He  loathed  the  idea  that 
his  daughter  should  be  united  to  a  Christian  ;  but  he  feared 
the  resentment  of  Felix,  if  he  should  appear  lukewarm  ;  for 
he  knew  that  he  was  still  in  the  power  of  his  deliverer,  if 
he  should  choose  to  betray  him  to  the  Italian  state  which 
they  inhabited.  He  revolved  a  thousand  plans  by  which  he 
should  be  enabled  to  prolong  the  deceit  until  it  might  be  no 
longer  necessary,  and  secretly  to  take  his  daughter  with  him 
when  he  departed.  His  plans  were  facilitated  by  the  news 
which  arrived  from  Paris. 

"  The  government  of  France  were  greatly  enraged  at  the 
escape  of  their  victim,  and  spared  no  pains  to  detect  and 
punish  his  deliverer.  The  plot  of  Felix  was  quickly  dis- 
covered, and  De  Lacey  and  Agatha  were  thrown  into  prison. 
The  news  reached  Felix,  and  roused  him  from'  his  dream 
of  pleasure.  His  blind  and  aged  father,  and  his  gentle 
sister,  lay  in  a  noisome  dungeon,  while  he  enjoyed  the  free 
v-ur,  and  the  society  of  her  whom  he  loved.  This  idea  was 


108  FRANKENSTEIN;  OB, 

torture  to  him.  He  quickly  arranged  with  the  Turks,  that 
if  the  latter  should  find  a  favourable  opportunity  for  escape 
before  Felix  could  return  to  Italy,  Safie  should  remain  as  a 
boarder  at  a  convent  at  Leghorn ;  and  then,  quitting  the 
lovely  Arabian,  he  hastened  to  Paris,  and  delivered  him- 
self up  to  the  vengeance  of  the  law,  hoping  to  free  De 
Lacey  and  Agatha  by  this  proceeding. 

"  He  did  not  succeed.  They  remained  confined  for  five 
months  before  the  trial  took  place ;  the  result  of  which 
deprived  them  of  their  fortune,  and  condemned  them  to  a 
perpetual  exile  from  their  native  country. 

"  They  found  a  miserable  asylum  in  the  cottage  in  Ger- 
many, where  I  discovered  them.  Felix  soon  learned  that 
the  treacherous  Turk,  for  whom  he  and  his  family  endured 
such  unheard-of  oppression,  on  discovering  that  his  de- 
liverer was  thus  reduced  to  poverty  and  ruin,  became  a 
traitor  to  good  feeling  and  honour,  and  had  quitted  Italy 
with  his  daughter,  insultingly  sending  Felix  a  pittance  of 
money,  to  aid  him,  as  he  said,  in  some  plan  of  future  main- 
tenance. 

"  Such  were  the  events  that  preyed  on  the  heart  of  Felix, 
and  rendered  him,  when  I  first  saw  him,  the  most  miser- 
able of  his  family.  He  could  have  endured  poverty ;  and 
while  this  distress  had  been  the  meed  of  his  virtue,  he 
gloried  in  it :  but  the  ingratitude  of  the  Turk,  and  the  loss 
of  his  beloved  Safie,  were  misfortunes  more  bitter  and  -ir- 
reparable. The  arrival  of  the  Arabian  now  infused  new- 
life  into  his  soul. 

,  "  When  the  news  reached  Leghorn,  that  Felix  was  de- 
prived of  his  wealth  and  rank,  the  merchant  commanded 
his  daughter  to  think  no  more  of  her  lover,  but  to  prepare 
to  return  to  her  native  country.  The  generous  nature  of 
Safie  was  outraged  by  this  command ;  she  attempted  to 
expostulate  with  her  father,  but  he  left  her  angrily,  reiter- 
ating his  tyrannical  mandate. 

"  A  few  days  after,  the  Turk  entered  his  daughter's 
apartment,  and  told  her  hastily,  that  he  had  reason  to  be- 
lieve that  his  residence  at  Leghorn  had  been  divulged,  and 
that  he  should  speedily  be  delivered  up  to  the  French  go- 
vernment ;  he  had,  consequently  hired  a  vessel  to  convey 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  109 

him  to  Constantinople,,  for  which  city  he  should  sail  in  a 
few  hours.  He  intended  to  leave  his  daughter  under  the 
care  of  a  confidential  servant,  to  follow  at  her  leisure  with 
the  greater  part  of  his  property,  which  had  not  yet  arrived 
at  Leghorn. 

"  When  alone,  Safie  resolved  in  her  own  mind  the  plan 
of  conduct  that  it  would  become  her  to  pursue  in  this  emer- 
gency. A  residence  in  Turkey  was  abhorrent  to  her ;  her 
religion  and  her  feelings  were  alike  adverse  to  it.  By  some 
papers  of  her  father,  which  fell  into  her  hands,  she  heard 
of  the  exile  of  her  lover,  and  learnt  the  name  of  the  spot 
where  he  then  resided.  She  hesitated  some  time,  but  at 
length  she  formed  her  determination.  Taking  with  her 
some  jewels  that  belonged  to  her,  and  a  sum  of  money,  she 
quitted  Italy  with  an  attendant,  a  native  of  Leghorn,  but 
who  understood  the  common  language  of  Turkey,  and  de- 
parted for  Germany. 

"  She  arrived  in  safety  at  a  town  about  twenty  leagues 
from  the  cottage  of  De  Lacey,  when  her  attendant  fell 
dangerously  ill.  Safie  nursed  her  with  the  most  devotee! 
affection  j  but  the  poor  girl  died,  and  the  Arabian  was  left 
alone,  unacquainted  with  the  language  of  the  country,  and 
utterly  ignorant  of  the  customs  of  the  world.  She  fell, 
however,  into  good  hands.  The  Italian  had  mentioned  the 
name  of  the  spot  for  which  they  were  bound ;  and,  after 
her  death,  the  woman  of  the  house  in  which  they  had  lived 
took  care  that  Safie  should  arrive  in  safety  at  the  cottage 
of  her  lover. 


CHAPTER  XV. 

"  SUCH  was  the  history  of  my  beloved  cottagers.  It  im- 
pressed me  deeply.  I  learned,  from  the  views  of  social 
life  which  it  developed,  to  admire  their  virtues,  and  to 
deprecate  the  vices  of  mankind. 

"  As  yet  I  looked  upon  crime  as  a  distant  evil ;  bene- 
volence and  generosity  were  ever  present  before  me,  inciting 


110  FRANKENSTEIN;  OB, 

within  me  a  desire  to  become  an  actor  in  the  busy  scene 
where  so  many  admirable  qualities  were  called  forth  and 
displayed.  But,  in  giving  an  account  of  the  progress  of 
my  intellect,  I  must  not  omit  a  circumstance  which  oc- 
curred in  the  beginning  of  the  month  of  August  of  the  same 
year. 

"  One  night,  during  my  accustomed  visit  to  the  neigh- 
bouring wood,  where  I  collected  my  own  food,  and  brought 
home  firing  for  my  protectors,  I  found  on  the  ground  a 
leathern  portmanteau,  containing  several  articles  of  dress 
and  some  books.  I  eagerly  seized  the  prize,  and  returned 
with  it  to  my  hovel.  Fortunately  the  books  were  written 
in  the  language,  the  elements  of  which  I  had  acquired  at 
the  cottage ;  they  consisted  of  '  Paradise  Lost,'  a  volume 
of  '  Plutarch's  Lives/  and  the  '  Sorrows  of  Werter.'  The 
possession  of  these  treasures  gave  me  extreme  delight ;  I 
now  continually  studied  and  exercised  my  mind  upon  these 
histories,  whilst  my  friends  were  employed  in  their  ordi- 
nary occupations. 

"  I  can  hardly  describe  to  you  the  effect  of  these  books. 
They  produced  in  me  an  infinity  of  new  images  and  feel- 
ings, that  sometimes  raised  me  to  ecstacy,  but  more  fre- 
quently sunk  me  into  the  lowest  dejection.  In  the  '  Sorrows 
of  Werter/  besides  the  interest  of  its  simple  and  affecting 
story,  so  many  opinions  are  canvassed,  and  so  many  lights 
thrown  upon  what  had  hitherto  been  to  me  obscure  sub- 
jects, that  I  found  in  it  a  never-ending  source  of  speculation 
and  astonishment.  The  gentle  and  domestic  manners  it 
described,  combined  with  lofty  sentiments  and  feelings, 
which  had  for  their  object  something  out  of  self,  accorded 
well  with  my  experience  among  my  protectors,  and  with 
the  wants  which  were  for  ever  alive  in  my  own  bosom. 
But  I  thought  Werter  himself  a  more  divine  being  than  I 
had  ever  beheld  or  imagined ;  his  character  contained  no 
pretension,  but  it  sunk  deep.  The  disquisitions  upon  death 
and  suicide  were  calculated  to  fill  me  with  wonder.  I  did 
not  pretend  to  enter  into  the  merits  of  the  case,  yet  I  in- 
clined towards  the  opinions  of  the  hero,  whose  extinction  I 
wept,  without  precisely  understanding  it. 

"  As  I  read,  however,  I  applied  much  personally  to  my 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  Ill 

own  feelings  and  condition.  I  found  myself  similar,  yet 
at  the  same  time  strangely  unlike  to  the  beings  concerning 
whom  I  read,  and  to  whose  conversation  I  was  a  listener. 
I  sympathised  with,  and  partly  understood  them,  hut  I  was 
unformed  in  mind ;  I  was  dependent  on  none,  and  related 
to  none.  '  The  path  of  my  departure  was  free  ; '  and  there 
was  nor,e  to  lament  my  annihilation.  My  person  was 
hideous,  and  my  stature  gigantic  ?  What  did  this  mean  ? 
Who  was  I  ?  What  was  I  ?  Whence  did  I  come  ?  What 
was  my  destination  ?  These  questions  continually  recurred, 
but  I  was  unable  to  solve  them. 

ee  The  volume  of  '  Plutarch's  Lives/  which  I  possessed, 
contained  the  histories  of  the  first  founders  of  the  ancient 
republics.  This  book  had  a  far  different  effect  upon  me 
from  the  '  Sorrows  of  Werter.'  I  learned  from  Werter's 
imaginations  despondency  and  gloom  :  but  Plutarch  taught 
me  high  thoughts;  he  elevated  me  above  the  wretched 
sphere  of  my  own  reflections,  to  admire  and  love  the  heroes 
of  past  ages.  Many  things  I  read  surpassed  my  under- 
standing and  experience.  I  had  a  very  confused  knowledge 
of  kingdoms,  wide  extents  of  country,  mighty  rivers,  and 
boundless  seas.  But  I  was  perfectly  unacquainted  with 
towns,  and  large  assemblages  of  men.  The  cottage  of  my 
protectors  had  been  the  only  school  in  which  I  had  studied 
human  nature ;  but  this  book  developed  new  and  mightier 
scenes  of  action.  I  read  of  men  concerned  in  public  affairs, 
governing  or  massacring  their  species.  I  felt  the  greatest 
ardour  for  virtue  rise  within  me,  and  abhorrence  for  vice, 
as  far  as  I  understood  the  signification  of  those  terms,  re- 
lative as  they  were,  as  I  applied  them,  to  pleasure  and  pain 
alone.  Induced  by  these  feelings,  I  was  of  course  led  to 
admire  peaceable  lawgivers,  Numa,  Solon,  and  Lycurgus, 
in  preference  to  Romulus  and  Theseus.  The  patriarchal 
lives  of  my  protectors  caused  these  impressions  to  take  a 
firm  hold  on  my  mind ;  perhaps,  if  my  first  introduction 
to  humanity  had  been  made  by  a  young  soldier,  burning 
for  glory  and  slaughter,  I  should  have  been  imbued  with 
different  sensations. 

"  But  '  Paradise  Lost'  excited  different  and  far  deeper 
emotions.  I  read  it,  as  I  had  read  the  other  volumes  which 


112  FRANKENSTEIN;  OR, 

had  fallen  into  my  hands,  as  a  true  history.  It  moved 
every  feeling  of  wonder  and  awe,  that  the  picture  of  an 
omnipotent  God  warring  with  his  creatures  was  capable  of 
exciting.  I  often  referred  the  several  situations,  as  their 
similarity  struck  me,  to  my  own.  Like  Adam,  I  was  ap- 
parently united  by  no  link  to  any  other  being  in  existence ; 
but  his  state  was  far  different  from  mine  in  every  other 
respect.  He  had  come  forth  from  the  hands  of  God  a  per- 
fect creature,  happy  and  prosperous,  guarded  by  the  especial 
care  of  his  Creator ;  he  was  allowed  to  converse  with,  and 
acquire  knowledge  from,  beings  of  a  superior  nature  :  but  I 
was  wretched,  helpless,  and  alone.  Many  times  I  con- 
sidered Satan  as  the  fitter  emblem  of  my  condition ;  for 
often,  like  him,  when  I  viewed  the  bliss  of  my  protectors, 
the  bitter  gall  of  envy  rose  within  me. 

"  Another  circumstance  strengthened  and  confirmed  these 
feelings.  Soon  after  my  arrival  in  the  hovel,  I  discovered 
some  papers  in  the  pocket  of  the  dress  which  I  had  taken 
from  your  laboratory.  At  first  I  had  neglected  them ;  but 
now  that  I  was  able  to  decipher  the  characters  in  which 
they  were  written,  I  began  to  study  them  with  diligence. 
It  was  your  journal  of  the  four  months  that  preceded  my 
creation.  You  minutely  described  in  these  papers  every 
step  you  took  in  the  progress  of  your  work  ;  this  history 
was  mingled  with  accounts  of  domestic  occurrences.  You, 
doubtless,  recollect  these  papers.  Here  they  are.  Every 
thing  is  related  in  them  which  bears  reference  to  my  ac- 
cursed origin  ;  the  whole  detail  of  that  series  of  disgusting 
circumstances  which  produced  it,  is  set  in  view;  the  minutest 
description  of  my  odious  and  loathsome  p  srson  is  given,  in 
language  which  painted  your  own  horrors,  and  rendered 
mine  indelible.  I  sickened  as  I  read.  '  Hateful  day  when 
I  received  life  ! '  I  exclaimed  in  agony.  f  Accursed  creator ! 
Why  did  you  form  a  monster  so  hideous  that  even  you 
turned  from  me  in  disgust  ?  God,  in  pity,  made  man 
beautiful  and  alluring,  after  his  own  image ;  but  my  form 
is  a  filthy  type  of  yours,  more  horrid  even  from  the  very 
resemblance.  Satan  had  his  companions,  fellow-devils,  to 
admire  and  encourage  him ;  but  I  am  solitary  and  ab- 
horred/ 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  113 

"  These  were  the  reflections  of  my  hours  of  despond- 
ency and  solitude  ;  but  when  I  contemplated  the  virtues  of 
the  cottagers,  their  amiable  and  benevolent  dispositions,  I 
persuaded  myself  that  when  they  should  become  acquainted 
with  my  admiration  of  their  virtues,  they  would  compas- 
sionate me,  and  overlook  my  personal  deformity.  Could 
they  turn  from  their  door  one,  however  monstrous,  who 
solicited  their  compassion  and  friendship  ?  I  resolved,  at 
least,  not  to  despair,  but  in  every  way  to  fit  myself  for  an 
interview  with  them  which  would  decide  my  fate.  I  post- 
poned this  attempt  for  some  months  longer ;  for  the  im- 
portance attached  to  its  success  inspired  me  with  a  dread 
lest  I  should  fail.  Besides,  I  found  that  my  understanding 
improved  so  much  with  every  day's  experience,  that  I  was 
unwilling  to  commence  this  undertaking  until  a  few  more 
months  should  have  added  to  my  sagacity. 

"  Several  changes,  in  the  mean  time,  took  place  in  the 
cottage.  The  presence  of  Safie  diffused  happiness  among 
its  inhabitants  ;  and  I  also  found  that  a  greater  degree  of 
plenty  reigned  there.  Felix  and  Agatha  spent  more  time  in 
amusement  and  conversation,  and  were  assisted  in  their  la- 
bours by  servants.  They  did  not  appear  rich,  but  they  were 
contented  and  happy  ;  their  feelings  were  serene  and  peace- 
ful, while  mine  became  every  day  more  tumultuous.  In- 
crease of  knowledge  only  discovered  to  me  more  clearly 
what  a  wretched  outcast  I  was.  I  cherished  hope,  it  is 
true  ;  but  it  vanished,  when  I  beheld  my  person  reflected 
in  water,  or  my  shadow  in  the  moonshine,  even  as  that  frail 
image  and  that  inconstant  shade. 

"  I  endeavoured  to  crush  these  fears,  and  to  fortify  my- 
self for  the  trial  which  in  a  few  months  I  resolved  to 
undergo  ;  and  sometimes  I  allowed  my  thoughts,  unchecked 
by  reason,  to  ramble  in  the  fields  of  Paradise,  and  dared  to 
fancy  amiable  ard  lovely  creatures  sympathising  with  my 
feelings,  and  cheering  my  gloom;  their  angelic  counte- 
nances breathed  smiles  of  consolation.  But  it  was  all  a 
dream ;  no  Eve  soothed  my  sorrows,  nor  shared  my  thoughts; 
I  was  alone.  I  remembered  Adam's  supplication  to  h'is 
Creator.  But  where  was  mine?  He  had  abandoned  me- 
and,  in  the  bitterness  of  my  heart,  I  cursed  him. 
i 


114  FRANKENSTEIN;  OR, 

"  Autumn  passed  thus.  I  saw,  with  surprise  and  grief, 
the  leaves  decay  and  fall,  and  nature  again  assume  the  bar- 
ren and  bleak  appearance  it  had  worn  when  I  first  beheld 
the  woods  and  the  lovely  moon.  Yet  I  did  not  heed  the 
bleakness  of  the  weather;  I  was  better  fitted  by  my  con- 
formation for  the  endurance  of  cold  than  heat.  But  my 
chief  delights  were  the  sight  of  the  flowers,  the  birds,  and 
all  the  gay  apparel  of  summer ;  when  those  deserted  me,  I 
turned  with  more  attention  towards  the  cottagers.  Their 
happiness  was  not  decreased  by  the  absence  of  summer. 
They  loved,  and  sympathised  with  one  another;  and  their 
joys.,  depending  on  each  other,  were  not  interrupted  by  the 
casualties  that  took  place  around  them.  The  more  I  saw 
of  them,  the  greater  became  my  desire  to  claim  their  pro- 
tection and  kindness ;  my  heart  yearned  to  be  known  and 
loved  by  these  amiable  creatures :  to  see  their  sweet  looks 
directed  towards  me  with  affection,  was  the  utmost  limit  of 
my  ambition.  I  dared  not  think  that  they  would  turn 
them  from  me  with  disdain  and  horror.  The  poor  that 
stopped  at  their  door  were  never  driven  away.  I  asked,  it 
is  true,  for  greater  treasures  than  a  little  food  or  rest :  I 
required  kindness  and  sympathy;  but  I  did  not  believe 
myself  utterly  unworthy  of  it. 

"  The  winter  advanced,  and  an  entire  revolution  of  the 
seasons  had  taken  place  since  I  awoke  into  life.  My  at- 
tention, at  this  time,  was  solely  directed  towards  my  plan 
of  introducing  myself  into  the  cottage  of  my  protectors.  I 
revolved  many  projects ;  but  that  on  which  I  finally  fixed 
was,  to  enter  the  dwelling  when  the  blind  old  man  should 
be  alone.  I  had  sagacity  enough  to  discover,  that  the  un- 
natural hideousness  of  my  person  was  the  chief  object  of 
horror  with  those  who  had  formerly  beheld  me.  My  voice, 
although  harsh,  had  nothing  terrible  in  it ;  I  thought, 
therefore,  that  if,  in  the  absence  of  his  children,  I  could 
gain  the  good-will  and  mediation  of  the  old  De  Lacey,  I 
might,  by  his  means,  be  tolerated  by  my  younger  pro- 
tectors. 

((  One  day,  when  the  sun  shone  on  the  red  leaves  that 
strewed  the  ground,  and  diffused  cheerfulness,  although  it 
denied  warmth,  Safie,  Agatha,  and  Felix  departed  on  a 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  115 

long  country  walk,  and  the  old  man,  at  his  own  desire,  was 
left  alone  in  the  cottage.  When  his  children  had  departed, 
he  took  up  his  guitar,  and  played  several  mournful  but 
sweet  airs,  more  sweet  and  mournful  than  I  had  ever  heard 
him  play  before.  At  first  his  countenance  was  illuminated 
with  pleasure,  but,  as  he  continued,  thoughtfulness  and 
sadness  succeeded ;  at  length,  laying  aside  the  instrument, 
he  sat  absorbed  in  reflection. 

ee  My  heart  beat  quick  ;  this  was  the  hour  and  moment 
of  trial,  which  would  decide  my  hopes,  or  realise  my  fears. 
The  servants  were  gone  to  a  neighbouring  fair.  All  was 
silent  in  and  around  the  cottage  :  it  was  an  excellent  oppor- 
tunity; yet,  when  I  proceeded  to  execute  my  plan,  my 
limbs  failed  me,  and  I  sank  to  the  ground.  Again  I  rose  ; 
and,  exerting  all  the  firmness  of  which  I  was  master,  re- 
moved the  planks  which  I  had  placed  before  my  hovel  to 
conceal  my  retreat.  The  fresh  air  revived  me,  and,  with 
renewed  determination,  I  approached  the  door  of  their 
cottage. 

"  I  knocked.  '  Who  is  there  ? '  said  the  old  man  — - 
'  Come  in.' 

"  I  entered ;  f  Pardon  this  intrusion,*  said  I :  c  I  am  a 
traveller  in  want  of  a  little  rest ;  you  would  greatly  oblige 
me,  if  you  would  allow  me  to  remain  a  few  minutes  before 
the  fire.' 

"  '  Enter,'  said  De  Lacey ;  c  and  I  will  try  in  what 
manner  I  can  relieve  your  wants ;  but,  unfortunately,  my 
children  are  from  home,  and,  as  I  am  blind,  I  am  afraid  I 
shall  find  it  difficult  to  procure  food  for  you.' 

"  (  Do  not  trouble  yourself,  my  kind  host,  I  have  food ; 
it  is  warmth  and  rest  only  that  I  need.' 

"  I  sat  down,  and  a  silence  ensued.  I  knew  that  every 
minute  was  precious  to  me,  yet  I  remained  irresolute  in 
what  manner  to  commence  the  interview ;  when  the  old 
man  addressed  me  — 

'  By  your  language,   stranger,  I  suppose  you  are  my 
countryman  ; — are  you  French  ?' 

"  '  No  ;   but  I  was  educated  by  a  French  family,  and 
understand  that  language  only.     I  am  now  going  to  claim 
i  2 


116  FRANKENSTEIN;  OB, 

the  protection  of  some  friends,,  whom  I  sincerely  love,  and 
of  whose  favour  I  have  some  hopes.' 

"  '  Are  they  Germans  ? ' 

"  f  No,  they  are  French.  But  let  us  change  the  sub- 
ject. I  am  an  unfortunate  and  deserted  creature ;  I  look 
around,  and  I  have  no  relation  or  friend  upon  earth.  These 
amiable  people  to  whom  I  go  have  never  seen  me,  and 
know  little  of  me.  I  am  full  of  fears ;  for  if  I  fail  there, 
I  am  an  outcast  in  the  world  for  ever/ 

"  '  Do  not  despair.  To  be  friendless  is  indeed  to  be 
unfortunate  ;  but  the  hearts  of  men,  when  unprejudiced  by 
any  obvious  self-interest,  are  full  of  brotherly  love  and 
charity.  Rely,  therefore,  on  your  hopes ;  and  if  these 
friends  are  good  and  amiable,  do  not  despair.' 

"  '  They  are  kind  —  they  are  the  most  excellent  crea- 
tures in  the  world ;  but,  unfortunately,  they  are  prejudiced 
against  me.  I  have  good  dispositions ;  my  life  has  been 
hitherto  harmless,  and  in  some  degree  beneficial;  but  a 
fatal  prejudice  clouds  their  eyes,  and  where  they  ought  to 
see  a  feeling  and  kind  friend,  they  behold  only  a  detestable 
monster.' 

"  '  That  is  indeed  unfortunate ;  but  if  you  are  really 
blameless,  cannot  you  undeceive  them  ? ' 

(e  f  I  am  about  to  undertake  that  task ;  and  it  is  on  that 
account  that  I  feel  so  many  overwhelming  terrors.  I  ten- 
derly love  these  friends ;  I  have,  unknown  to  -them,  been 
for  many  months  in  the  habits  of  daily  kindness  towards 
them ;  but  they  believe  that  I  wish  to  injure  them,  and  it 
is  that  prejudice  which  I  wish  to  overcome.' 

"  e  Where  do  these  friends  reside  ? ' 

"  <  Near  this  spot.' 

"  The  old  man  paused,  and  then  continued,  (  If  you 
will  unreservedly  confide  to  me  the  particulars  of  your  tale, 
I  perhaps  may  be  of  use  in  undeceiving  them.  I  am  blind, 
and  cannot  judge  of  your  countenance,  but  there  is  some- 
thing in  your  words,  which  persuades  me  that  you  are  sin- 
cere. I  am  poor,  and  an  exile  ;  but  it  will  afford  me 
true  pleasure  to  be  in  any  way  serviceable  to  a  human 
creature.' 

"  '  Excellent  man !  I  thank  you,  and  accept  your  ge- 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  117 

nerous  offer.  You  raise  me  from  the  dust  by  this  kindness; 
and  I  trust  that,  by  your  aid,  I  shall  not  be  driven  from 
the  society  and  sympathy  of  your  fellow- creatures.' 

"  e  Heaven  forbid !  even  if  you  were  really  criminal ; 
for  that  can  only  drive  you  to  desperation,  and  not  insti- 
gate you  to  virtue.  I  also  am  unfortunate;  I  and  my 
family  have  been  condemned,  although  innocent:  judge, 
therefore,  if  I  do  not  feel  for  your  misfortunes/ 

"  '  How  can  I  thank  you,  my  best  and  only  benefactor? 
From  your  lips  first  have  I  heard  the  voice  of  kindness 
directed  towards  me ;  I  shall  be  for  ever  grateful ;  and  your 
present  humanity  assures  me  of  success  with  those  friends 
whom  I  am  on  the  point  of  meeting.' 

"  '  May  I  know  the  names  and  residence  of  those 
friends?' 

"  I  paused.  This,  I  thought,  was  the  moment  of  deci- 
sion, which  was  to  rob  me  of,  or  bestow  happiness  on  me 
for  ever.  I  struggled  vainly  for  firmness  sufficient  to 
answer  him,  but  the  effort  destroyed  all  my  remaining 
strength ;  I  sank  on  the  chair,  and  sobbed  aloud.  At  that 
moment  I  heard  the  steps  of  my  younger  protectors.  I  had 
not  a  moment  to  lose ;  but,  seizing  the  hand  of  the  old 
man,  I  cried,  '  Now  is  the  time  !  —  save  and  protect  me  ! 
You  and  your  family  are  the  friends  whom  I  seek.  Do 
not  you  desert  me  in  the  hour  of  trial ! ' 

"  '  Great  God ! '  exclaimed  the  old  man,  c  who  are 
you  ?  ' 

"  At  that  instant  the  cottage  door  was  opened,  and  Felix, 
Safie,  and  Agatha  entered.  Who  can  describe  their  horror 
and  consternation  on  beholding  me  ?  Agatha  fainted ;  and 
Safie,  unable  to  attend  to  her  friend,  rushed  out  of  the 
cottage.  Felix  darted  forward,  and  with  supernatural  force 
tore  me  from  his  father,  to  whose  knees  I  clung:  in  a 
transport  of  fury,  he  dashed  me  to  the  ground,  and  struck 
me  violently  with  a  stick.  I  could  have  torn  him  limb 
from  limb,  as  the  lion  rends  the  antelope.  But  my  heart 
sunk  within  me  as  with  bitter  sickness,  and  I  refrained. 
I  saw  him  on  the  point  of  repeating  his  blow,  when,  over- 
come by  pain  and  anguish,  I  quitted  the  cottage,  and  in  the 
general  tumult  escaped  unperceived  to  my  hovel, 
i  3 


118  FRANKENSTEIN  ;    OR, 


CHAPTER  XVI. 

"  CURSED,  cursed  creator  !  Why  did  I  live  ?  Why,  in  that 
instant,  did  I  not  extinguish  the  spark  of  existence  which 
you  had  so  wantonly  bestowed  ?  I  know  not ;  despair  had 
not  yet  taken  possession  of  me ;  my  feelings  were  those  of 
rage  and  revenge.  I  could  with  pleasure  have  destroyed 
the  cottage  and  its  inhabitants,  and  have  glutted  myself 
with  their  shrieks  and  misery. 

fc  When  night  came,  I  quitted  my  retreat,  and  wandered 
in  the  wood ;  and  now,  no  longer  restrained  by  the  fear  of 
discovery,  I  gave  vent  to  my  anguish  in  fearful  howlings. 
I  was  like  a  wild  beast  that  had  broken  the  toils;  destroying 
the  objects  that  obstructed  me,  and  ranging  through  the 
wood  with  a  stag-like  swiftness.  O  !  what  a  miserable 
night  I  passed !  the  cold  stars  shone  in  mockery,  and  the 
bare  trees  waved  their  branches  above  me  :  now  and  then 
the  sweet  voice  of  a  bird  burst  forth  amidst  the  universal 
stillness.  All,  save  I,  were  at  rest  or  in  enjoyment :  I, 
like  the  arch-fiend,  bore  a  hell  within  me;  and,  finding 
myself  unsympathised  with,  wished  to  tear  up  the  trees, 
spread  havoc  and  destruction  around  me,  and  then  to  have 
sat  down  and  enjoyed  the  ruin. 

"  But  this  was  a  luxury  of  sensation  that  could  not  en- 
dure ;  I  became  fatigued  with  excess  of  bodily  exertion, 
and  sank  on  the  damp  grass  in  the  sick  impotence  of 
despair.  There  was  none  among  the  myriads  of  men  that 
existed  who  would  pity  or  assist  me ;  and  should  I  feel 
kindness  towards  my  enemies  ?  No  :  from  that  moment  I 
declared  everlasting  war  against  the  species,  and,  more  than 
all,  against  him  who  had  formed  me,  and  sent  me  forth  to 
this  insupportable  misery. 

"  The  sun  rose ;  I  heard  the  voices  of  men,  and  knew 
that  it  was  impossible  to  return  to  my  retreat  during  that 
day.  Accordingly  I  hid  myself  in  some  thick  underwood, 
determining  to  devote  the  ensuing  hours  to  reflection  on  my 
situation. 

"  The  pleasant  sunshine,  and  the  pure  air  of  day,  re- 


THE  MODERN  PROMETHEUS. 

stored  me  to  some  degree  of  tranquillity;  and  when  I 
considered  what  had  passed  at  the  cottage,  I  could  not 
help  believing  that  I  had  been  too  hasty  in  my  conclusions. 
I  had  certainly  acted  imprudently.  It  was  apparent  that 
my  conversation  had  interested  the  father  in  my  behalf,  and 
I  was  a  fool  in  having  exposed  my  person  to  the  horror  of 
his  children.  I  ought  to  have  familiarised  the  old  De  Lacey 
to  me,,  and  by  degrees  to  have  discovered  myself  to  the  rest 
of  his  family,  when  they  should  have  been  prepared  for  my 
approach.  But  I  did  not  believe  my  errors  to  be  irre- 
trievable ;  and,  after  much  consideration,  I  resolved  to 
return  to  the  cottage,  seek  the  old  man,  and  by  my  repre- 
sentations win  him  to  my  party. 

"  These  thoughts  calmed  me,  and  in  the  afternoon  I 
sank  into  a  profound  sleep ;  but  the  fever  of  my  blood  did 
not  allow  me  to  be  visited  by  peaceful  dreams.  The  hor- 
rible scene  of  the  preceding  day  was  for  ever  acting  before 
my  eyes  ^  the  females  were  flying,  and  the  enraged  Felix 
tearing  me  from  his  father's  feet.  I  awoke  exhausted; 
and,  rinding  that  it  was  already  night,  T  crept  forth  from 
my  hiding-place,  and  went  in  search  of  food. 

ff  When  my  hunger  was  appeased,  I  directed  my  steps 
towards  the  well-known  path  that  conducted  to  the  cottage. 
All  there  was  at  peace.  I  crept  into  my  hovel,  and  re- 
mained in  silent  expectation  of  the  accustomed  hour  when 
the  family  arose.  That  hour  passed,  the  sun  mounted  high 
in  the  heavens,  but  the  cottagers  did  not  appear.  I  trembled 
violently,  apprehending  some  dreadful  misfortune.  The 
inside  of  the  cottage  was  dark,  and  I  heard  no  motion ;  I 
cannot  describe  the  agony  of  this  suspense. 

"  Presently  two  countrymen  passed  by ;  but,  pausing 
near  the  cottage,  they  entered  into  conversation,  using  vio- 
lent gesticulations  ;  but  I  did  not  understand  what  they 
said,  as  they  spoke  the  language  of  the  country,  which  dif- 
fered from  that  of  my  protectors.  Soon  after,  however, 
Felix  approached  with  another  man  :  I  was  surprised,  as  I 
knew  that  he  had  not  quitted  the  cottage  that  morning,  and 
waited  anxiously  to  discover,  from  his  discourse,  the  mean- 
ing of  these  unusual  appearances. 

"  '  Do  you  consider/  said  his  companion  to  him,  f  that 
i  4 


120 


FRANKENSTEIN  ,'    OB, 


you  will  be  obliged  to  pay  three  months'  rent,  and  to  lose 
the  produce  of  your  garden  ?  I  do  not  wish  to  take  any 
unfair  advantage,  and  I  beg  therefore  that  you  will  take 
some  days  to  consider  of  your  determination.' 

"  '  It  is  utterly  useless/  replied  Felix  ;  (  we  can  never 
again  inhabit  your  cottage.  The  life  of  my  father  is  in 
the  greatest  danger,  owing  to  the  dreadful  circumstance 
that  I  have  related.  My  wife  and  my  sister  will  never 
recover  their  horror.  I  entreat  you  not  to  reason  with  me 
any  more.  Take  possession  of  your  tenement,  and  let  me 
fly  from  this  place.' 

"  Felix  trembled  violently  as  he  said  this.  He  and  his 
companion  entered  the  cottage,  in  which  they  remained  for 
a  few  minutes,  and  then  departed.  I  never  saw  any  of  the 
family  of  De  Lacey  more. 

"  I  continued  for  the  remainder  of  the  day  in  my  hovel 
in  a 'state  of  utter  and  stupid  despair.  My  protectors  had 
departed,  and  had  broken  the  only  link  that  held  me  to  the 
world.  For  the  first  time  the  feelings  of  revenge  and 
hatred  filled  my  bosom,  and  I  did  not  strive  to  control 
them  ;  but,  allowing  myself  to  be  borne  away  by  the  stream, 
I  bent  my  mind  towards  injury  and  death.  When  I 
thought  of  my  friends,  of  the  mild  voice  of  De  Lacey,  the 
gentle  eyes  of  Agatha,  and  the  exquisite  beauty  of  the 
Arabian,  these  thoughts  vanished,  and  a  gush  of  tears 
somewhat  soothed  me.  But  again,  when  I  reflected  that 
they  had  spurned  and  deserted  me,  anger  returned,  a  rage 
of  anger  ;  and,  unable  to  injure  any  thing  human,  I  turned 
my  fury  towards  inanimate  objects.  As  night  advanced,  I 
placed  a  variety  of  combustibles  around  the  cottage ;  and, 
after  having  destroyed  everf*Vestige  of  cultivation  in  the 
garden,  1  waited  with  forced  impatience  until  the  moon 
Jiad  sunk  to  commence  my  operations. 

(c  As  the  night  advanced,  a  fierce  wind  arose  from  the 
woods,  and  quickly  dispersed  the  clouds  that  had  loitered 
in  the  heavens  :  the  blast  tore  along  like  a  mighty  avalanche, 
and  produced  a  kind  of  insanity  in  my  spirits,  that  burst 
all  bounds  of  reason  and  reflection.  I  lighted  the  dry 
branch  of  a  tree,  and  danced  with  fury  around  the  devoted 
cottage,  my  eyes  still  fixed  on  the  western  horizon,  the  edge 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  121 

of  which  the  moon  nearly  touched.  A  part  of  its  orb  was 
at  length  hid,  and  I  waved  my  brand  ;  it  sunk,  and,  with  a 
loud  scream.,  I  fired  the  straw,  and  heath,  and  bushes,  which 
I  had  collected.  The  wind  fanned  the  fire,  and  the  cottage 
was  quickly  enveloped  by  the  flames,  which  clung  to  it,  and 
licked  it  with  their  forked  and  destroying  tongues. 

fc  As  soon  as  I  was  convinced  that  no  assistance  could 
save  any  part  of  the  habitation,  I  quitted  the  scene,,  and 
sought  for  refuge  in  the  woods. 

"  And  now,  with  the  world  before  me,  whither  should  I 
bend  my  steps  ?  I  resolved  to  fly  far  from  the  scene  of  my 
misfortunes ;  but  to  me,  hated  and  despised,  every  country 
must  be  equally  horrible.  At  length  the  thought  of  you 
crossed  my  mind.  I  learned  from  your  papers  that  you 
were  my  father,  my  creator  ;  and  to  whom  could  I  apply 
with  more  fitness  than  to  him  who  had  given  me  life  ? 
Among  the  lessons  that  Felix  had  bestowed  upon  Safie, 
geography  had  not  been  omitted  :  I  had  learned  from  these 
the  relative  situations  of  the  different  countries  of  the  earth. 
You  had  mentioned  Geneva  as  the  name  of  your  native 
town ;  and  towards  this  place  I  resolved  to  proceed. 

"  But  how  was  I  to  direct  myself?  I  knew  that  I  must 
travel  in  a  south- westerly  direction  to  reach  my  destination; 
but  the  sun  was  my  only  guide.  I  did  not  know  the  names 
of  the  towns  that  I  was  to  pass  through,  nor  could  I  ask 
information  from  a  single  human  being ;  but  I  did  not 
despair.  From  you  only  could  I  hope  for  succour,  although 
towards  you  I  felt  no  sentiment  but  that  of  hatred.  Un- 
feeling, heartless  creator !  you  had  endowed  me  with  per- 
ceptions and  passions,  and  then  cast  me  abroad  an  object 
for  the  scorn  and  horror  of  mankind.  But  on  you  only 
had  I  any  claim  for  pity  and  redress,  and  from  you  I  de- 
termined to  seek  that  justice  which  I  vainly  attempted  to 
gain  from  any  other  being  that  wore  the  human  form. 

"  My  travels  were  long,  and  the  sufferings  I  endured 
intense.  It  was  late  in  autumn  when  I  quitted  the  district 
where  I  had  so  long  resided.  I  travelled  only  at  night, 
fearful  of  encountering  the  visage  of  a  human  being.  Na- 
ture decayed  around  me,  and  the  sun  became  heatless  ;  rain 
and  snow  poured  around  me ;  mighty  rivers  were  frozen  ; 


122  FRANKENSTEIN  ;    OB, 

the  surface  of  the  earth  was  hard  and  chill,  and  bare,  and 
I  found  no  shelter.  Oh,  earth !  how  often  did  I  imprecate 
curses  on  the  cause  of  my  being !  The  mildness  of  my 
nature  had  fled,  and  all  within  me  was  turned  to  gall  and 
bitterness.  The  nearer  I  approached  to  your  habitation, 
the  more  deeply  did  I  feel  the  spirit  of  revenge  enkindled 
in  my  heart.  Snow  fell,  and  the  waters  were  hardened;  but 
I  rested  not.  A  few  incidents  now  and  then  directed  me, 
and  I  possessed  a  map  of  the  country ;  but  I  often  wan- 
dered wide  from  my  path.  The  agony  of  my  feelings  al- 
lowed me  no  respite :  no  incident  occurred  from  which  my 
rage  and  misery  could  not  extract  its  food ;  but  a  circum- 
stance 'that  happened  when  I  arrived  on  the  confines  of 
Switzerland,  when  the  sun  had  recovered  its  warmth,  and 
the  earth  again  began  to  look  green,  confirmed  in  an  especial 
manner  the  bitterness  and  horror  of  my  feelings. 

"  I  generally  rested  during  the  day,  and  travelled  only 
when  I  was  secured  by  night  from  the  view  of  man.  One 
morning,  however,  finding  that  my  path  lay  through  a  deep 
wood,  I  ventured  to  continue  my  journey  after  the  sun  had 
risen  ;  the  day,  which  was  one  of  the  first  of  spring,  cheered 
even  me  by  the  loveliness  of  its  sunshine  and  the  balminess 
of  the  air.  I  felt  emotions  of  gentleness  and  pleasure,  that 
had  long  appeared  dead,  revive  within  me.  Half  surprised 
by  the  novelty  of  these  sensations,  I  allowed  myself  to  be 
borne  away  by  them  ;  and,  forgetting  my  solitude  and  de- 
formity, dared  to  be  happy.  Soft  tears  again  bedewed  my 
cheeks,  and  I  even  raised  my  humid  eyes  with  thankfulness 
towards  the  blessed  sun  which  bestowed  such  joy  upon  me. 

"  I  continued  to  wind  among  the  paths  of  the  wood, 
until  I  came  to  its  boundary,  which  was  skirted  by  a  deep 
and  rapid  river,  into  which  many  of  the  trees  bent  their 
branches,  now  budding  with  the  fresh  spring.  Here  I 
paused,  not  exactly  knowing  what  path  to  pursue,  when  I 
heard  the  sound  of  voices,  that  induced  me  to  conceal  myself 
under  the  shade  of  a  cypress.  I  was  scarcely  hid,  when  a 
young  girl  came  running  towards  the  spot  where  I  was  con- 
cealed, laughing,  as  if  she  ran  from  some  one  in  sport.  She 
continued  her  course  along  the  precipitous  sides  of  the  river, 
when  suddenly  her  foot  slipt,  and  she  fell  into  the  rapid 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  123 

stream.  I  rushed  from  my  hiding-place;  and,  with  extreme 
labour  from  the  force  of  the  current,,  saved  her,  and  dragged 
her  to  shore.  She  was  senseless ;  and  I  endeavoured,  by 
every  means  in  my  power,  to  restore  animation,  when  I  was 
suddenly  interrupted  by  the  approach  of  a  rustic,  who  was 
probably  the  person  from  whom  she  had  playfully  fled.  On 
seeing  me,  he  darted  towards  me,  and  tearing  the  girl  from 
my  arms,  hastened  towards  the  deeper  parts  of  the  wood. 
I  followed  speedily,  I  hardly  knew  why ;  but  when  the 
man  saw  me  draw  near,  he  aimed  a  gun,  which  he  carried, 
at  my  body,  and  fired.  I  sunk  to  the  ground,  and  my  in- 
jurer,  with  increased  swiftness,  escaped  into  the  wood. 

ff  This  was  then  the  reward  of  my  benevolence  !  I  had 
saved  a  human  being  from  destruction,  and,  as  a  recompense, 
I  now  writhed  under  the  miserable  pain  of  a  wound,  which 
shattered  the  flesh  and  bone.  The  feelings  of  kindness  and 
gentleness,  which  I  had  entertained  but  a  few  moments 
before,  gave  place  to  hellish  rage  and  gnashing  of  teeth. 
Inflamed  by  pain,  I  vowed  eternal  hatred  and  vengeance  to 
all  mankind.  But  the  agony  of  my  wound  overcame  me ; 
my  pulses  paused,  and  I  fainted. 

fc  For  some  weeks  I  led  a  miserable  life  in  the  woods, 
endeavouring  to  cure  the  wound  which  I  had  received.  The 
ball  had  entered  my  shoulder,  and  I  knew  not  whether  it 
had  remained  there  or  passed  through ;  at  any  rate  I  had 
no  means  of  extracting  it.  My  sufferings  were  augmented 
also  by  the  oppressive  sense  of  the  injustice  and  ingratitude 
of  their  infliction.  My  daily  vows  rose  for  revenge — a  deep 
and  deadly  revenge,  such  as  would  alone  compensate  for  the 
outrages  and  anguish  I  had  endured. 

"  After  some  weeks  my  wound  healed,  and  I  continued 
my  journey.  The  labours  I  endured  were  no  longer  to  be 
alleviated  by  the  bright  sun  or  gentle  breezes  of  spring ;  all 
joy  was  but  a  mockery,  which  insulted  my  desolate  state, 
and  made  me  feel  more  painfully  that  I  was  not  made  for 
the  enjoyment  of  pleasure. 

"  But  my  toils  now  drew  near  a  close ;  and,  in  two 
months  from  this  time,  I  reached  the  environs  of  Geneva. 

"  It  was  evening  when  I  arrived,  and  I  retired  to  a 
hiding-place  among  the  fields  that  surround  it,  to  meditate 


14  FRANKENSTEIN  ;    OB, 

in  what  manner  I  should  apply  to  you.  I  was  oppressed 
by  fatigue  and  hunger,  and  far  too  unhappy  to  enjoy  the 
gentle  breezes  of  evening,  or  the  prospect  of  the  sun  setting 
behind  the  stupendous  mountains  of  Jura. 

f(  At  this  time  a  slight  sleep  relieved  me  from  the  pain  of 
reflection,  which  was  disturbed  by  the  approach  of  a  beautiful 
child,  who  came  running  into  the  recess  I  had  chosen,  with 
all  the  sportiveness  of  infancy.  Suddenly,  as  I  gazed  on 
him,  an  idea  seized  me,  that  this  little  creature  was  unpre- 
judiced, and  had  lived  too  short  a  time  to  have  imbibed  a 
horror  of  deformity.  If,  therefore,  I  could  seize  him,  and 
educate  him  as  my  companion  and  friend,  I  should  not  be 
so  desolate  in  this  peopled  earth. 

"  Urged  by  this  impulse,  I  seized  on  the  boy  as  he  passed, 
and  drew  him  towards  me.  As  soon  as  he  beheld  my  form, 
he  placed  his  hands  before  his  eyes,  and  uttered  a  shrill 
scream :  I  drew  his  hand  forcibly  from  his  face,  and  said, 
f  Child,  what  is  the  meaning  of  this  ?  I  do  not  intend  to 
hurt  you ;  listen  to  me/ 

"He  struggled  violently.  'Let  me  go/  he  cried; ' monster! 
ugly  wretch  !  you  wish  to  eat  me,  and  tear  me  to  pieces — 
You  are  an  ogre — Let  me  go,  or  I  will  tell  my  papa.' 

"  '  Boy,  you  will  never  see  your  father  again ;  you  must 
come  with  me.' 

"  '  Hideous  monster  !  let  me  go.  My  papa  is  a  Syndic 
— he  is  M.  Frankenstein — he  will  punish  you.  You  dare 
not  keep  me.' 

"  e  Frankenstein  !  you  belong  then  to  my  enemy — to 
him  towards  whom  I  have  sworn  eternal  revenge ;  you  shall 
be  my  first  victim.' 

"  The  child  still  struggled,  and  loaded  me  with  epithets 
which  carried  despair  to  my  heart ;  I  grasped  his  throat  to 
silence  him,  and  in  a  moment  he  lay  dead  at  my  feet. 

e<  I  gazed  on  my  victim,  and  my  heart  swelled  with  ex- 
ultation and  hellish  triumph :  clapping  my  hands,  I  ex- 
claimed, c  I,  too,  can  create  desolation ;  my  enemy  is  not 
invulnerable ;  this  death  will  carry  despair  to  him,  and  a 
thousand  other  miseries  shall  torment  and  destroy  him/ 

"  As  I  fixed  my  eyes  on  the  child,  I  saw  something 
glittering  on  his  breast.  I  took  it ;  it  was  a  portrait  of  a 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  125 

most  lovely  woman.  In  spite  of  my  malignity,  it  softened 
and  attracted  me.  For  a  few  moments  I  gazed  with  delight 
on  her  dark  eyes,  fringed  by  deep  lashes,  and  her  lovely 
lips ;  but  presently  my  rage  returned :  I  remembered  that 
I  was  for  ever  deprived  of  the  delights  that  such  beautiful 
creatures  could  bestow ;  and  that  she  whose  resemblance  I 
contemplated  would,  in  regarding  me,  have  changed  that 
air  of  divine  benignity  to  one  expressive  of  disgust  and 
affright. 

(f  Can  you  wonder  that  such  thoughts  transported  me 
with  rage  ?  I  only  wonder  that  at  that  moment,  instead  of 
venting-  my  sensations  in  exclamations  and  agony,  I  did  not 
rush  among  mankind,  and  perish  in  the  attempt  to  destroy  them. 

ft  While  I  was  overcome  by  these  feelings,  I  left  the  spot 
where  I  had  committed  the  murder,  and  seeking  a  more  se 
eluded  hiding-place,  I  entered  a  barn  which  had  appeared 
to  me  to  be  empty.  A  woman  was  sleeping  on  some  straw; 
she  was  young :  not  indeed  so  beautiful  as  her  whose  por- 
trait I  held  j  but  of  an  agreeable  aspect,  and  blooming  in 
the  loveliness  of  youth  and  health.  Here,  I  thought,  is  one 
of  those  whose  joy-imparting  smiles  are  bestowed  on  all  but 
me.  And  then  I  bent  over  her,  and  whispered  '  Awake, 
fairest,  thy  lover  is  near — he  who  would  give  his  life  but  to 
obtain  one  look  of  affection  from  thine  eyes :  my  beloved, 
awake  ! ' 

"  The  sleeper  stirred ;  a  thrill  of  terror  ran  through  me. 
Should  she  indeed  awake,  and  see  me,  and  curse  me,  and 
denounce  the  murderer  ?  Thus  would  she  assuredly  act,  if 
her  darkened  eyes  opened,  and  she  beheld  me.  The  thought 
was  madness;  it  stirred  the  fiend  within  me — not  I,  but 
she  shall  suffer:  the  murder  I  have  committed  because  I 
am  for  ever  robbed  of  all  that  she  could  give  me,  she  shall 
atone.  The  crime  had  its  source  in  her :  be  hers  the 
punishment !  Thanks  to  the  lessons  of  Felix  and  the  san- 
guinary laws  of  man,  I  had  learned  now  to  work  mischief. 
I  bent  over  her,  and  placed  the  portrait  securely  in  one  of 
the  folds  of  her  dress.  She  moved  again,  and  I  fled. 

<e  For  some  days  I  haunted  the  spot  where  these  scenes 
had  taken  place ;  sometimes  wishing  to  see  you,  some- 
times resolved  to  quit  the  world  and  its  miseries  for  ever. 


126 


FRANKENSTEIN  !    OR, 


At  length  I  wandered  towards  these  mountains,,  and  have 
ranged  through  their  immense  recesses.,  consumed  by  a 
burning  passion  which  you  alone  can  gratify.  We  may 
not  part  until  you  have  promised  to  comply  with  my  requi- 
sition. I  am  alone,  and  miserable  ;  man  will  not  associate 
with  me ;  but  one  as  deformed  and  horrible  as  myself 
would  not  deny  herself  to  me.  My  companion  must  be  of 
the  same  species,  and  have  the  same  defects.  This  being 
you  must  create." 


CHAPTER  XVII. 

THE  being  finished  speaking,  and  fixed  his  looks  upon  me 
in  expectation  of  a  reply.  But  I  was  bewildered,  perplexed, 
and  unable  to  arrange  my  ideas  sufficiently  to  understand 
the  full  extent  of  his  proposition.  He  continued  — 

"  You  must  create  a  female  for  me,  with  whom  I  can 
live  in  the  interchange  of  those  sympathies  necessary  for 
my  being.  This  you  alone  can  do  ;  and  I  demand  it  of  you 
as  a  right  which  you  must  not  refuse  to  concede." 

The  latter  part  of  his  tale  had  kindled  anew  in  me  the 
anger  that  had  died  away  while  he  narrated  his  peaceful 
life  among  the  cottagers,  and,  as  he  said  this,  I  could  no 
longer  suppress  the  rage  that  burned  within  me. 

"  I  do  refuse  it,"  I  replied ;  "  and  no  torture  shall  ever 
extort  a  consent  from  me.  You  may  render  me  the  most 
miserable  of  men,  but  you  shall  never  make  me  base  in  my 
own  eyes.  Shall  I  create  another  like  yourself,  whose  joint 
wickedness  might  desolate  the  world.  Begone  !  I  have 
answered  you  ;  you  may  torture  me,  but  I  will  never  con- 
sent." 

"  You  are  in  the  wrong,"  replied  the  fiend ;  "  and,  in- 
stead of  threatening,  I  am  content  to  reason  with  you.  I 
am  malicious  because  I  am  miserable.  Am  I  not  shunned 
and  hated  by  all  mankind  ?  You,  my  creator,  would  tear 
me  to  pieces,  and  triumph  ;  remember  that,  and  tell  me 
why  I  should  pity  man  more  than  he  pities  me  ?  You  would 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  127 

not  call  it  murder,  if  you  could  precipitate  me  into  one 
of  those  ice-rifts,  and  destroy  my  frame,  the  work  of  your 
own  hands.  Shall  I  respect  man,  when  he  contemns  me  ? 
Let  him  live  with  me  in  the  interchange  of  kindness ;  and, 
instead  of  injury,  I  would  bestow  every  benefit  upon  him 
with  tears  of  gratitude  at  his  acceptance.  But  that  cannot 
be ;  the  human  senses  are  insurmountable  barriers  to  our 
union.  Yet  mine  shall  not  be  the  submission  of  abject 
slavery.  I  will  revenge  my  injuries  :  if  I  cannot  inspire 
love,  I  will  cause  fear ;  and  chiefly  towards  you  my  arch- 
enemy, because  my  creator,  do  I  swear  inextinguishable 
hatred.  Have  a  care  :  I  will  work  at  your  destruction,  nor 
finish  until  I  desolate  your  heart,  so  that  you  shall  curse 
the  hour  of  your  birth." 

A  fiendish  rage  animated  him  as  he  said  this  ;  his  face 
was  wrinkled  into  contortions  too  horrible  for  human  eyes 
to  behold;  but  presently  he  calmed  himself  and  pro- 
ceeded — 

"  I  intended  to  reason.  This  passion  is  detrimental  to 
me ;  for  you  do  not  reflect  that  you  are  the  cause  of  its 
excess.  If  any  being  felt  emotions  of  benevolence  towards 
me,  I  should  return  them  an  hundred  and  an  hundred 
fold ;  for  that  one  creature's  sake,  I  would  make  peace  with 
the  whole  kind !  But  I  now  indulge  in  dreams  of  bliss  that 
cannot  be  realised.  What  I  ask  of  you  is  reasonable  and 
moderate ;  I  demand  a  creature  of  another  sex,  but  as 
hideous  as  myself;  the  gratification  is  small,  but  it  is  all 
that  I  can  receive,  and  it  shall  content  me.  It  is  true,  we 
shall  be  monsters,  cut  off  from  all  the  world ;  but  on  that 
account  we  shall  be  more  attached  to  one  another.  Our 
lives  will  not  be  happy,  but  they  will  be  harmless,  and  free 
from  the  misery  I  now  feel.  Oh  !  my  creator,  make  me 
happy  ;  let  me  feel  gratitude  towards  you  for  one  benefit  1 
Let  me  see  that  I  excite  the  sympathy  of  some  existing 
thing  ;  do  not  deny  me  my  request ! " 

I  was  moved.  I  shuddered  when  I  thought  of  the  pos- 
sible consequences  of  my  consent ;  but  I  felt  that  there  was 
some  justice  in  his  argument.  His  tale,  and  the  feelings 
he  now  expressed,  proved  him  to  be  a  creature  of  fine  sen- 
sations ;  and  did  I  not  as  his  maker,  owe  him  all  the  portion 


128  FRANKENSTEIN;  OR, 

of  happiness  that  it  was  in  my  power  to  bestow  ?  He  saw 
my  change  of  feeling,  and  continued  — 

"  If  you  consent,  neither  you  nor  any  other  human  being 
shall  ever  see  us  again :  I  will  go  to  the  vast  wilds  of  South 
America.  My  food  is  not  that  of  man  ;  I  do  not  destroy 
the  lamb  and  the  kid  to  glut  my  appetite;  acorns  and 
berries  afford  me  sufficient  nourishment.  My  companion 
will  be  of  the  same  nature  as  myself,  and  will  be  content 
with  the  same  fare.  We  shall  make  our  bed  of  dried 
leaves ;  the  sun  will  shine  on  us  as  on  man,  and  will  ripen 
our  food.  The  picture  I  present  to  you  is  peaceful  and 
human,  and  you  must  feel  that  you  could  deny  it  only  in 
the  wantonness  of  power  and  cruelty.  Pitiless  as  you  have 
been  towards  me,  I  now  see  compassion  in  your  eyes ;  let 
me  seize  the  favourable  moment,  and  persuade  you  to  pro- 
mise what  I  so  ardently  desire." 

fe  You  propose,"  replied  I,  "  to  fly  from  the  habitations 
of  man,  to  dwell  in  those  wilds  where  the  beasts  of  the 
field  will  be  your  only  companions.  How  can  you,  who 
long  for  the  love  and  sympathy  of  man,  persevere  in  this 
exile  ?  You  will  return,  and  again  seek  their  kindness,  and 
you  will  meet  with  their  detestation  ;  your  evil  passions 
will  be  renewed,  and  you  will  then  have  a  companion  to  aid 
you  in  the  task  of  destruction.  This  may  not  be :  cease 
to  argue  the  point,  for  I  cannot  consent." 

"  How  inconstant  are  your  feelings  !  but  a  moment  ago 
you  were  moved  by  my  representations,  and  why  do  you 
again  harden  yourself  to  my  complaints  ?  I  swear  to  you, 
by  the  earth  which  I  inhabit,  and  by  you  that  made  me, 
that,  with  the  companion  you  bestow,  I  will  quit  the  neigh- 
bourhood of  man,  and  dwell  as  it  may  chance,  in  the  most 
savage  of  places.  My  evil  passions  will  have  fled,  for  I 
shall  meet  with  sympathy !  my  life  will  flow  quietly 
away,  and,  in  my  dying  moments,  I  shall  not  curse  my 
maker." 

His  words  had  a  strange  effect  upon  me.  I  compas- 
sionated him,  and  sometimes  felt  a  wish  to  console  him  ; 
but  when  I  looked  upon  him,  when  I  saw  the  filthy  mass 
that  moved  and  talked,  my  heart  sickened,  and  my  feelings 
were  altered  to  those  of  horror  and  hatred.  I  tried  to 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  129 

stifle  these  sensations  ;  I  thought,  that  as  I  could  not  sym- 
pathise with  him,  I  had  no  right  to  withhold  from  him  the 
small  portion  of  happiness  which  was  yet  in  my  power  to 
bestow. 

' '  You  swear/'  I  said,  "  to  be  harmless ;  but  have  you 
not  already  shown  a  degree  of  malice  that  should  reason- 
ably make  me  distrust  you  ?  May  not  even  this  be  a  feint 
that  will  increase  your  triumph  by  affording  a  wider  scope 
for  your  revenge/' 

1 '  How  is  this  ?  I  must  not  be  trifled  with  :  and  I  de- 
mand an  answer.  If  I  have  no  ties  and  no  affections, 
hatred  and  vice  must  be  my  portion  ;  the  love  of  another 
will  destroy  the  cause  ef  my  crimes,  and  I  shall  become  a 
thing,  of  whose  existence  every  one  will  be  ignorant.  My 
vices  are  the  children  of  a  forced  solitude  that  I  abhor  ;  and 
my  virtues  will  necessarily  arise  when  I  live  in  communion 
with  an  equal.  I  shall  feel  the  affections  of  a  sensitive 
being,  and  become  linked  to  the  chain  of  existence  and 
events,  from  which  I  am  now  excluded." 

I  paused  some  time  to  reflect  on  all  he  had  related,  and 
the  various  arguments  which  he  had  employed.  I  thought 
of  the  promise  of  virtues  which  he  had  displayed  on  the 
opening  of  his  existence,  and  the  subsequent  blight  of  all 
kindly  feeling  by  the  loathing  and  scorn  which  his  pro- 
tectors had  manifested  towards  him.  His  power  and 
threats  were  not  omitted  in  my  calculations  :  a  creature  who 
could  exist  in  the  ice-caves  of  the  glaciers,  and  hide  himself 
from  pursuit  among  the  ridges  of  inaccessible  precipices, 
was  a  being  possessing  faculties  it  would  be  vain  to  cope 
with.  After  a  long  pause  of  reflection,  I  concluded  that 
the  justice  due  both  to  him  and  my  fellow-creatures  de- 
manded of  me  that  I  should  comply  with  his  request. 
Turning  to  him,  therefore,  I  said  — 

"  I  consent  to  your  demand,  on  your  solemn  oath  to 
quit  Europe  for  ever,  and  every  other  place  in  the  neigh- 
bourhood of  man,  as  soon  as  I  shall  deliver  into  your 
hands  a  female  who  will  accompany  you  in  your  exile." 

"  I  swear,"  he  cried,  "  by  the  sun,  and  by  the  blue  sky 
of  Heaven,  and  by  the  fire  of  love  that  burns  my  heart, 
that  if  you  grant  my  prayer,  while  they  exist  you  shall 

K 


130  FRANKENSTEIN  ;    OH, 

never  behold  me  again.  Depart  to  your  home,  and  com- 
mence your  labours :  I  shall  watch  their  progress  with 
unutterable  anxiety  ;  and  fear  not  but  that  when  you  are 
ready  I  shall  appear." 

Saying  this,  he  suddenly  quitted  me,  fearful,  perhaps, 
of  any  change  in  my  sentiments.  I  saw  him  descend  the 
mountain  with  greater  speed  than  the  flight  of  an  eagle, 
and  quickly  lost  among  the  undulations  of  the  sea  of  ice. 

His  tale  had  occupied  the  whole  day ;  and  the  sun  was 
upon  the  verge  of  the  horizon  when  he  departed.  I  knew 
that  I  ought  to  hasten  my  descent  towards  the  valley,  as  I 
should  soon  be  encompassed  in  darkness;  but  my  heart  was 
heavy,  and  my  steps  slow.  The  labour  of  winding  among  the 
little  paths  of  the  mountains,  and  fixing  my  feet  firmly  as 
I  advanced,  perplexed  me,  occupied  as  I  was  by  the  emo- 
tions which  the  occurrences  of  the  day  had  produced. 
Night  was  far  advanced,  when  I  came  to  the  half- way 
resting-place,  and  seated  myself  beside  the  fountain.  The 
stars  shone  at  intervals,  as  the  clouds  passed  from  over 
them  ;  the  dark  pines  rose  before  me,  and  every  here  and 
there  a  broken  tree  lay  on  the  ground :  it  was  a  scene  of 
wonderful  solemnity,  and  stirred  strange  thoughts  within 
me.  I  wept  bitterly ;  and  clasping  my  hands  in  agony,  I 
exclaimed,  "  Oh  !  stars  and  clouds,  and  winds,  ye  are  all 
about  to  mock  me  :  if  ye  really  pity  me,  crush  sensation 
and  memory ;  let  me  become  as  nought ;  but  if  not, 
depart,  depart,  and  leave  me  in  darkness." 

These  were  wild  and  miserable  thoughts ;  but  I  cannot 
describe  to  you  how  the  eternal  twinkling  of  the  stars 
weighed  upon  me,  and  how  I  listened  to  every  blast  of 
wind,  as  if  it  were  a  dull  ugly  siroc  on  its  way  to  consume 
me. 

Morning  dawned  before  I  arrived  at  the  village  of  Cha- 
mounix ;  I  took  no  rest,  but  returned  immediately  to 
Geneva.  Even  in  my  own  heart  I  could  give  no  expres- 
sion to  my  sensations — they  weighed  on  me  with  a  moun- 
tain's weight,  and  their  excess  destroyed  my  agony  beneath 
them.  Thus  I  returned  home,  and  entering  the  house, 
presented  myself  to  the  family.  My  haggard  and  wild 
appearance  awoke  intense  alarm ;  but  I  answered  no  ques- 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  131 

tion,  scarcely  did  I  speak.  I  felt  as  if  I  were  placed  under 
a  ban  —  as  if  I  had  no  right  to  claim  their  sympathies — 
as  if  never  more  might  I  enjoy  companionship  with  them. 
Yet  even  thus  I  loved  them  to  adoration  ;  and  to  save  them, 
I  resolved  to  dedicate  myself  to  my  most  abhorred  task. 
The  prospect  of  such  an  occupation  made  every  other  cir- 
cumstance of  existence  pass  before  me  like  a  dream;  and 
that  thought  only  had  to  me  the  reality  of  life. 


CHAPTER  XVIII, 

DAY  after  day,  week  after  week,  passed  away  on  my  return 
to  Geneva;  and  I  could  not  collect  the  courage  to  re- 
commence my  work.  I  feared  the  vengeance  of  the  disap- 
pointed fiend,  yet  I  was  unable  to  overcome  my  repugnance 
to  the  task  which  was  enjoined  me.  I  found  that  I  could 
not  compose  a  female  without  again  devoting  several  months 
to  profound  study  and  laborious  disquisition.  I  had  heard 
of  some  discoveries  having  been  made  by  an  English  phi- 
losopher, the  knowledge  of  which  was  material  to  my  success, 
and  I  sometimes  thought  of  obtaining  my  father's  consent 
to  visit  England  for  this  purpose;  but  I  clung  to  every 
pretence  of  delay,  and  shrunk  from  taking  the  first  step  in 
an  undertaking  whose  immediate  necessity  began  to  appear 
less  absolute  to  me.  A  change  indeed  had  taken  place  in 
me :  my  health,  which  had  hitherto  declined,  was  now  much 
restored ;  and  my  spirits,  when  unchecked  by  the  memory 
of  my  unhappy  promise,  rose  proportion  ably.  My  father 
saw  this  change  with  pleasure,  and  he  turned  his  thoughts 
towards  the  best  method  of  eradicating  the  remains  of  my 
melancholy,  which  every  now  and  then  would  return  by  fits, 
and  with  a  devouring  blackness  overcast  the  approaching 
sunshine.  At  these  moments  1  took  refuge  in  the  most 
perfect  solitude.  I  passed  whole  days  on  the  lake  alone  in 
a  little  boat,  watching  the  clouds,  and  listening  to  the 
rippling  of  the  waves,  silent  and  listless.  But  the  fresh  air 
and  bright  sun  seldom  failed  to  restore  me  to  some  degree 
K  2 


FRANKENSTEIN;  OR, 

of  composure ;  and,  on  my  return,,  I  met  the  salutations  of 
my  friends  with  a  readier  smile  and  a  more  cheerful  heart. 

It  was  after  my  return  from  one  of  these  rambles,  that 
my  father,  calling  me  aside,  thus  addressed  me :  — 

"  I  am  happy  to  remark,  my  dear  son,  that  you  have 
resumed  your  former  pleasures,  and  seem  to  he  returning  to 
yourself.  And  yet  you  are  still  unhappy,  and  still  avoid 
our  society.  For  some  time  I  was  lost  in  conjecture  as  to 
the  cause  of  this  ;  but  yesterday  an  idea  struck  me,  and  if 
it  is  well  founded,  I  conjure  you  to  avow  it.  Reserve  on 
such  a  point  would  be  not  only  useless,  but  draw  down 
treble  misery  on  us  all." 

I  trembled  violently  at  his  exordium,  and  my  father  con- 
tinued — 

"  I  confess,  my  son,  that  I  have  always  looked  forward 
to  your  marriage  with  our  dear  Elizabeth  as  the  tie  of  our 
domestic  comfort,  and  the  stay  of  my  declining  years.  You 
were  attached  to  each  other  from  your  earliest  infancy ; 
you  studied  together,  and  appeared,  in  dispositions  and 
tastes,  entirely  suited  to  one  another.  But  so  blind  is  the 
experience  of  man,  that  what  I  conceived  to  be  the  best 
assistants  to  rny  plan,  may  have  entirely  destroyed  it.  You, 
perhaps,  regard  her  as  your  sister,  without  any  wish  that 
she  might  become  your  wife.  Nay,  you  may  have  met 
with  another  whom  you  may  love ;  and,  considering  yourself 
as  bound  in  honour  to  Elizabeth,  this  struggle  may  occasion 
the  poignant  misery  which  you  appear  to  feel/* 

ff  My  dear  father,  re-assure  yourself.  I  love  my  cousin 
tenderly  and  sincerely.  I  never  saw  any  woman  who  ex- 
cited, as  Elizabeth  does,  my  warmest  admiration  and  affec- 
tion. My  future  hopes  and  prospects  are  entirely  bound 
up  in  the  expectation  of  our  union." 

"  The  expression  of  your  sentiments  of  this  subject,  my 
dear  Victor,  gives  me  more  pleasure  than  I  have  for  some 
time  experienced.  If  you  feel  thus,  we  shall  assuredly  be 
happy,  however  present  events  may  cast  a  gloom  over  us. 
But  it  is  this  gloom  which  appears  to  have  taken  so  strong 
a  hold  of  your  mind,  that  I  wish  to  dissipate.  Tell  me, 
therefore,  whether  you  object  to  an  immediate  solemnis- 
ation of  the  marriage.  We  have  been  unfortunate,  and 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  133 

recent  events  have  drawn  us  from  that  every-day  tranquil, 
lity  befitting  my  years  and  infirmities.  You  are  younger; 
yet  I  do  not  suppose,  possessed  as  you  are  of  a  competent 
fortune,  that  an  early  marriage  would  at  all  interfere  with 
any  future  plans  of  honour  and  utility  that  you  may  have 
formed.  Do  not  suppose,  however,  that  I  wish  to  dictate 
happiness  to  you,  or  that  a  delay  on  your  part  would  cause 
me  any  serious  uneasiness.  Interpret  my  words  with  can- 
dour, and  answer  me,  I  conjure  you,  with  confidence  and 
sincerity." 

I  listened  to  my  father  in  silence,  and  remained  for  some 
time  incapable  of  offering  any  reply.  I  revolved  rapidly 
in  my  mind  a  multitude  of  thoughts,  and  endeavoured  to 
arrive  at  some  conclusion.  Alas !  to  me  the  idea  of  an 
immediate  union  with  my  Elizabeth  was  one  of  horror 
and  dismay.  I  was  bound  by  a  solemn  promise,  which 
I  had  not  yet  fulfilled,  and  dared  not  break ;  or,  if  I  did, 
what  manifold  miseries  might  not  impend  over  me  and  my 
devoted  family  !  Could  I  enter  into  a  festival  with  this 
ileadly  weight  yet  hanging  round  my  neck,  and  bowing  me 
to  the  ground.  I  must  perform  my  engagement,  and 
let  the  monster  depart  with  his  mate,  before  I  allowed  my- 
self to  enjoy  the  delight  of  an  union  from  which  I  expected 
peace. 

I  remembered  also  the  necessity  imposed  upon  me  of 
either  journeying  to  England,  or  entering  into  a  long  cor- 
respondence with  those  philosophers  of  that  country,  whose 
knowledge  and  discoveries  were  of  indispensable  use  to 
me  in  my  present  undertaking.  The  latter  method  of  ob- 
taining the  desired  intelligence  was  dilatory  and  unsatis- 
factory :  besides,  I  had  an  insurmountable  aversion  to  the 
idea  of  engaging  myself  in  my  loathsome  task  in  my 
father's  house,  while  in  habits  of  familiar  intercourse  with 
those  I  loved.  I  knew  that  a  thousand  fearful  accidents 
might  occur,  the  slightest  of  which  would  disclose  a  tale  to 
thrill  all  connected  with  me  with  horror.  I  was  aware  als/> 
that  I  should  often  lose  all  self-command,  all  capacity  of 
hiding  the  harrowing  sensations  that  would  possess  me 
during  the  progress  of  my  unearthly  occupation.  I  must 
absent  myself  from  all  I  loved  while  thus  employed.  Once 

K3 


134, 


FRANKENSTEIN  !    OR, 


commenced,  it  would  quickly  be  achieved,  and  I  might  be 
restored  to  my  family  in  peace  and  happiness.  My  pro- 
mise fulfilled,  the  monster  would  depart  for  ever.  Or  (so 
my  fond  fancy  imaged)  some  accident  might  meanwhile 
occur  to  destroy  him,  and  put  an  end  to  my  slavery  for  ever. 

These  feelings  dictated  my  answer  to  my  father.  I  ex- 
pressed a  wish  to  visit  England  ;  but,  concealing  the  true 
reasons  of  this  request,  I  clothed  my  desires  under  a  guise 
which  excited  no  suspicion,  while  I  urged  my  desire  with  an 
earnestness  that  easily  induced  my  father  to  comply.  After 
so  long  a  period  of  an  absorbing  melancholy,  that  resembled 
madness  in  its  intensity  and  effects,  he  was  glad  to  find  that 
I  was  capable  of  taking  pleasure  in  the  idea  of  such  a  jour- 
ney, and  he  hoped  that  change  of  scene  and  varied  amuse- 
ment would,  before  my  return,  have  restored  me  entirely  to 
myself. 

The  duration  of  my  absence  was  left  to  my  own  choice; 
a  few  months,  or  at  most  a  year,  was  the  period  contem- 
plated. One  paternal  kind  precaution  he  had  taken  to 
ensure  my  having  a  companion.  Without  previously  com- 
municating with  me,  he  had,  in  concert  with  Elizabeth, 
arranged  that  Clerval  should  join  me  at  Strasburgh.  This 
interfered  with  the  solitude  I  coveted  for  the  prosecution  of 
my  task ;  yet  at  the  commencement  of  my  journey  the  pre- 
sence of  my  friend  could  in  no  way  be  an  impediment,  and 
truly  I  rejoiced  that  thus  I  should  be  saved  many  hours  of 
lonely,  maddening  reflection.  Nay,  Henry  might  stand 
between  me  and  the  intrusion  of  my  foe.  If  I  were  alone, 
would  he  not  at  times  force  his  abhorred  presence  on  me, 
to  remind  me  of  my  task,  or  to  contemplate  its  progress  ? 

To  England,  therefore,  I  was  bound,  and  it  was  under- 
stood that  my  union  with  Elizabeth  should  take  place  im- 
mediately on  my  return.  My  father's  age  rendered  him 
extremely  averse  to  delay.  For  myself,  there  was  one 
reward  I  promised  myself  from  my  detested  toils — one 
consolation  for  my  unparalleled  sufferings ;  it  was  the 
prospect  of  that  day  when,  enfranchised  from  my  miserable 
slavery,  I  might  claim  Elizabeth,  and  forget  the  past  in 
my  union  with  her. 

I   now  made  arrangements  for  my  journey;    but  one 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  135 

feeling  haunfed  me,  which  filled  me  with  fear  and  agitation. 
During  my  absence  I  should  leave  my  friends  unconscious 
of  the  existence  of  their  enemy,  and  unprotected  from  his 
attacks,  exasperated  as  he  might  be  by  my  departure.  But 
he  had  promised  to  follow  me  wherever  I  might  go ;  and 
would  he  not  accompany  me  to  England  ?  This  imagination 
was  dreadful  in  itself,  but  soothing,  inasmuch  as  it  sup- 
posed the  safety  of  my  friends.  I  was  agonised  with 'the 
idea  of  the  possibility  that  the  reverse  of  this  might  happen. 
But  through  the  whole  period  during  which  I  was  the  slave 
of  my  creature,  I  allowed  myself  to  be  governed  by  the 
impulses  of  the  moment;  and  my  present  sensations  strongly 
intimated  that  the  fiend  would  follow  me,  and  exempt  my 
family  from  the  danger  of  his  machinations. 

It  was  in  the  latter  end  of  September  that  I  again  quitted 
my  native  country.  My  journey  had  been  my  own  sug- 
gestion, and  Elizabeth,  therefore,  acquiesced :  but  she  was 
filled  with  disquiet  at  the  idea  of  my  suffering,  away  from 
her,  the  inroads  of  misery  and  grief.  It  had  been  her  care 
which  provided  me  a  companion  in  Clerval — and  yet  a 
man  is  blind  to  a  thousand  minute  circumstances,  which 
call  forth  a  woman's  sedulous  attention.  She  longed  to  bid 
me  hasten  my  return,  —  a  thousand  conflicting  emotions 
rendered  her  mute,  as  she  bade  me  a  tearful  silent  fare- 
well. 

I  threw  myself  into  the  carriage  that  was  to  convey  me 
away,  hardly  knowing  whither  I  was  going,  and  careless 
of  what  was  passing  around.  I  remembered  only,  and  it 
was  with  a  bitter  anguish  that  I  reflected  on  it,  to  order 
that  my  chemical  instruments  should  be  packed  to  go  with 
me.  Filled  with  dreary  imaginations,  I  passed  through 
many  beautiful  and  majestic  scenes;  but  my  eyes  were 
fixed  and  unobserving.  I  could  only  think  of  the  bourne 
of  my  travels,  and  the  work  which  was  to  occupy  me  whilst 
they  endured. 

After  some  days  spent  in  listless  indolence,  during  which 
I  traversed  many  leagues,  I  arrived  at  Strasburgh,  where  I 
waited  two  days  for  Clerval.  He  came.  Alas,  how  great 
was  the  contrast  between  us  !  He  was  alive  to  every  new 
scene ;  joyful  when  he  saw  the  beauties  of  the  setting  sun, 
K  4 


136 


FRANKENSTEIN  '    OK, 


and  more  happy  when  he  beheld  it  rise,  and  recommence  a 
new  day.  He  pointed  out  to  me  the  shifting  colours  of  the 
landscape,  and  the  appearances  of  the  sky.  "  This  is  what 
it  is  to  live,"  he  cried,  e '  now  I  enjoy  existence  !  But  you, 
my  dear  Frankenstein,  wherefore  are  you  desponding  and 
sorrowful ! "  In  truth,  I  was  occupied  by  gloomy  thoughts, 
and  neither  saw  the  descent  of  the  evening  star,  nor  the 
golden  sunrise  reflected  in  the  Rhine. — And  you,  my 
friend,  would  be  far  more  amused  with  the  journal  of 
Clerval,  who  observed  the  scenery  with  an  eye  of  feeling 
and  delight,  than  in  listening  to  my  reflections.  I,  a  miser- 
able wretch,  haunted  by  a  curse  that  shut  up  every  avenue 
to  enjoyment. 

We  had  agreed  to  descend  the  Rhine  in  a  boat  from 
Strasburgb  to  Rotterdam,  whence  we  might  take  shipping 
for  London.  During  this  voyage,  we  passed  many  willowy 
islands,  and  saw  several  beautiful  towns.  We  stayed  a  day 
at  Manheim,  and,  on  the  fifth  from  our  departure  from 
Strasburgh,  arrived  at  Mayence.  The  course  of  the  Rhine 
below  Mayence  becomes  much  more  picturesque.  The  river 
descends  rapidly,  and  winds  between  hills,  not  high,  but 
steep,  and  of  beautiful  forms.  We  saw  many  ruined  castles 
standing  on  the  edges  of  precipices,  surrounded  by  black 
woods,  high  and  inaccessible.  This  part  of  the  Rhine, 
indeed,  presents  a  singularly  variegated  landscape.  In  one 
spot  you  view  rugged  hills,  ruined  castles  overlooking  tre- 
mendous precipices,  with  the  dark  Rhine  rushing  beneath  ; 
and,  on  the  sudden  turn  of  a  promontory,  flourishing  vine- 
yards, with  green  sloping  banks,  and  a  meandering  river, 
and  populous  towns  occupy  the  scene. 

We  travelled  at  the  time  of  the  vintage,  and  heard  the 
song  of  the  labourers,  as  we  glided  .down  the  stream.  Even 
I,  depressed  in  mind,  and  my  spirits  continually  agitated 
by  gloomy  feelings,  even  I  was  pleased.  I  lay  at  the  bot- 
tom of  the  boat,  and,  as  I  gazed  on  the  cloudless  blue  sky, 
I  seemed  to  drink  in  a  tranquillity  to  which  I  had  long  been 
a  stranger.  And  if  these  were  my  sensations,  who  can 
describe  those  of  Henry  ?  He  felt  as  if  he  had  been  trans- 
ported to  Fairy-land,  and  enjoyed  a  happiness  seldom  tasted 
by  man.  "  I  have  seen,"  he  said,  (( the  most  beautiful 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  137 

scenes  of  my  own  country;  I  have  visited  the  lakes  of  Lu- 
cerne and  Uri,  where  the  snowy  mountains  descend  almost 
perpendicularly  to  the  water,  casting  black  and  impenetrable 
shades,  which  would  cause  a  gloomy  and  mournful  appear- 
ance, were  it  not  for  the  most  verdant  islands  that  relieve 
the  eye  by  their  gay  appearance;  I  have  seen  this  lake 
agitated  by  a  tempest,  when  the  wind  tore  up  whirlwinds 
of  water,  and  gave  you  an  idea  of  what  the  water-spout 
must  be  on  the  great  ocean ;  and  the  waves  dash  with  fury 
the  base  of  the  mountain,  where  the  priest  and  his  mis- 
tress were  overwhelmed  by  an  avalanche,  and  where  their 
dying  voices  are  still  said  to  be  heard  amid  the  pauses  of 
the  nightly  wind ;  I  have  seen  the  mountains  of  La  Valais, 
and  the  Pays  de  Vaud  :  but  this  country,  Victor,  pleases 
ine  more  than  all  those  wonders.  The  mountains  of  Swit- 
zerland are  more  majestic  and  strange ;  but  there  is  a  charm 
in  the  banks  of  this  divine  river,  that  I  never  before  saw 
equalled.  Look  at  that  castle  which  overhangs  yon  preci- 
pice ;  and  that  also  on  the  island,  almost  concealed  amongst 
the  foliage  of  those  lovely  trees  j  and  now  that  group  of 
labourers  coming  from  among  their  vines  ;  and  that  village 
half  hid  in  the  recess  of  the  mountain.  Oh,  surely,  the 
spirit  that  inhabits  and  guards  this  place  has  a  soul  more 
in  harmony  with  man,  than  those  who  pile  the  glacier,  or 
retire  to  the  inaccessible  peaks  of  the  mountains  of  our  own 
country." 

Clerval !  beloved  friend  !  even  now  it  delights  me  to 
record  your  words,  and  to  dwell  on  the  praise  of  which  you 
are  so  eminently  deserving.  He  was  a  being  formed  in 
the  "  very  poetry  of  nature."  His  wild  and  enthusiastic 
imagination  was  chastened  by  the  sensibility  of  his  heart. 
His  soul  overflowed  with  ardent  affections,  and  his  friend- 
ship was  of  that  devoted  and  wondrous  nature  that  the 
worldly-minded  teach  us  to  look  for  only  in  the  imagin- 
ation. But  even  human  sympathies  were  not  sufficient  to 
satisfy  his  eager  mind.  The  scenery  of  external  nature, 
which  others  regard  only  with  admiration,  he  loved  with 
ardour : — 


138  FRANKENSTEIN;  OR, 

• — — "  The  sounding  cataract 

Haunted  him  like  a  passion  :  the  tall  rock, 
The  mountain,  and  the  deep  and  gloomy  wood, 
Their  colours  and  their  forms,  were  then  to  him 
An  appetite ;  a  feeling,  and  a  love, 
That  had  no  need  of  a  remoter  charm, 
By  thought  supplied,  or  any  interest 
UnborrowM  from  the  eye  "* 

And  where  does  he  now  exist  ?  Is  this  gentle  and  lovely 
being  lost  for  ever?  Has  this  mind,  so  replete  with  ideas, 
imaginations  fanciful  and  magnificent,  which  formed  a 
world,  whose  existence  depended  on  the  life  of  its  creator ; 
— has  this  mind  perished?  Does  it  now  only  exist  in  my 
memory  ?  No,  it  is  not  thus ;  your  form  so  divinely  wrought, 
and  beaming  with  beauty,  has  decayed,  but  your  spirit  still 
visits  and  consoles  your  unhappy  friend. 

Pardon  this  gush  of  sorrow  ;  these  ineffectual  words  are 
but  a  slight  tribute  to  the  unexampled  worth  of  Henry, 
but  they  soothe  my  heart,  overflowing  with  the  anguish 
which  his  remembrance  creates.  I  will  proceed  with  my 
tale. 

Beyond  Cologne  we  descended  to  the  plains  of  Holland  ; 
and  we  resolved  to  post  the  remainder  of  our  way ;  for  the 
wind  was  contrary,  and  the  stream  of  the  river  was  too 
gentle  to  aid  us. 

Our  journey  here  lost  the  interest  arising  from  beautiful 
scenery;  but  we  arrived  in  a  few  days  at  Rotterdam,  whence 
we  proceeded  by  sea  to  England.  It  was  on  a  clear  morn- 
ing, in  the  latter  days  of  December,  that  I  first  saw  the 
white  cliffs  of  Britain.  The  banks  of  the  Thames  pre- 
sented a  new  scene  ;  they  were  flat,  but  fertile,  and  almost 
every  town  was  marked  by  the  remembrance  of  some  story. 
We  saw  Tilbury  Fort,  and  remembered  the  Spanish  ar- 
mada ;  Gravesend,  Woolwich,  and  Greenwich,  places  which 
I  had  heard  of  even  in  my  country. 

At  length  we  saw  the  numerous  steeples  of  London, 
St.  Paul's  towering  above  all,  and  the  Tower  famed  in 
English  history. 

*  Wordsworth's  Tintern  Abbey. 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  139 


CHAPTER  XIX. 

LONDON  was  our  present  point  of  rest ;  we  determined  to 
remain  several  months  in  this  wonderful  and  celebrated 
city.  Clerval  desired  the  intercourse  of  the  men  of  genius 
and  talent  who  flourished  at  this  time ;  but  this  was  with 
me  a  secondary  object ;  I  was  principally  occupied  with  the 
means  of  obtaining  the  information  necessary  for  the  com- 
pletion of  my  promise,  and  quickly  availed  myself  of  the 
letters  of  introduction  that  I  had  brought  with  me,  ad- 
dressed to  the  most  distinguished  natural  philosophers. 

If  this  journey  had  taken  place  during  my  days  of  study 
and  happiness,  it  would  have  afforded  me  inexpressible 
pleasure.  But  a  blight  had  come  over  my  existence,  and 
I  only  visited  these  people  for  the  sake  of  the  information 
they  might  give  me  on  the  subject  in  which  my  interest 
was  so  terribly  profound.  Company  was  irksome  to  me ; 
when  alone,  1  could  fill  my  mind  with  the  sights  of  heaven 
and  earth ;  the  voice  of  Henry  soothed  me,  and  I  could 
thus  cheat  myself  into  a  transitory  peace.  But  busy  unin- 
teresting joyous  faces  brought  back  despair  to  my  heart.  I 
saw  an  insurmountable  barrier  placed  between  me  and  my 
fellow-men  ;  this  barrier  was  sealed  with  the  blood  of  Wil- 
liam and  Justine ;  and  to  reflect  on  the  events  connected 
with  those  names  filled  my  soul  with  anguish. 

But  in  Clerval  I  saw  the  image  of  my  former  self;  he 
was  inquisitive,  and  anxious  to  gain  experience  and  instruc- 
tion. The  difference  of  manners  which  he  observed  was  to 
him  an  inexhaustible  source  of  instruction  and  amusement. 
He  was  also  pursuing  an  object  he  had  long  had  in  view. 
His  design  was  to  visit  India,  in  the  belief  that  he  had  in 
his  knowledge  of  its  various  languages,  and  in  the  views  he 
had  taken  of  its  society,  the  means  of  materially  assisting 
the  progress  of  European  colonisation  and  trade.  In  Britain 
only  could  he  further  the  execution  of  his  plan.  He  was  for 
ever  busy;  and  the  only  check  to  his  enjoyments  was  my 
sorrowful  and  dejected  mind.  I  tried  to  conceal  this  as 
much  as  possible,  that  I  might  not  debar  him  from  the 


140  FRANKENSTEIN  ;    OR, 

pleasures  natural  to  one,  who  was  entering  on  a  new  scene 
of  life,  undisturbed  by  any  care  or  bitter  recollection.  I 
often  refused  to  accompany  him,  alleging  another  engage- 
ment, that  I  might  remain  alone.  I  now  also  began  to 
collect  the  materials  necessary  for  my  new  creation,  and 
this  was  to  me  like  the  torture  of  single  drops  of  water 
continually  falling  on  the  head.  Every  thought  that  was 
devoted  to  it  was  an  extreme  anguish,  and  every  word  that 
I  spoke  in  allusion  to  it  caused  my  lips  to  quiver,  and  my 
heart  to  palpitate. 

After  passing  some  months  in  London,  we  received  a 
letter  from  a  person  in  Scotland,  who  had  formerly  been 
our  visiter  at  Geneva.  He  mentioned  the  beauties  of  his 
native  country,  and  asked  us  if  those  were  not  sufficient 
allurements  to  induce  us  to  prolong  our  journey  as  far  north 
as  Perth,  where  he  resided.  Clerval  eagerly  desired  to 
accept  this  invitation ;  and  I,  although  I  abhorred  society, 
wished  to  view  again  mountains  and  streams,  and  all  the 
wondrous  works  with  which  Nature  adorns  her  chosen 
dwelling-places. 

We  had  arrived  in  England  at  the  beginning  of  October, 
and  it  was  now  February.  We  accordingly  determined  to 
commence  our  journey  towards  the  north  at  the  expiration 
of  another  month.  In  this  expedition  we  did  not  intend 
to  follow  the  great  road  to  Edinburgh,  but  to  visit  Windsor, 
Oxford,  Matlock,  and  the  Cumberland  lakes,  resolving  to 
arrive  at  the  completion  of  this  tour  about  the  end  of  July. 
I  packed  up  my  chemical  instruments,  and  the  materials  I 
had  collected,  resolving  to  finish  my  labours  in  some  obscure 
nook  in  the  northern  highlands  of  Scotland. 

We  quitted  London  on  the  27th  of  March,  and  remained 
a  few  days  at  Windsor,  rambling  in  its  beautiful  forest. 
This  was  a  new  scene  to  us  mountaineers ;  the  majestic 
oaks,  the  quantity  of  game,  and  the  herds  of  stately  deer, 
were  all  novelties  to  us. 

From  thence  we  proceeded  to  Oxford.  As  we  entered 
this  city,  our  minds  were  rilled  with  the  remembrance  of 
the  events  that  had  been  transacted  there  more  than  a 
century  and  a  half  before.  It  was  here  that  Charles  I.  had 
collected  his  forces.  This  city  had  remained  faithful  to 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  141 

him,  after  the  whole  nation  had  forsaken  his  cause  to  join 
the  standard  of  parliament  and  liberty.  The  memory  of 
that  unfortunate  king,  and  his  companions,  the  amiable 
Falkland.,  the  insolent  Goring,  his  queen,  and  son,  gave  a 
peculiar  interest  to  every  part  of  the  city,  which  they  might 
be  supposed  to  have  inhabited.  The  spirit  of  elder  days 
found  a  dwelling  here,  and  we  delighted  to  trace  its  foot- 
steps. If  these  feelings  had  not  found  an  imaginary  gra- 
tification, the  appearance  of  the  city  had  yet  in  itself  sufficient 
beauty  to  obtain  our  admiration.  The  colleges  are  ancient 
and  picturesque ;  the  streets  are  almost  magnificent ;  and 
the  lovely  Isis,  which  flows  beside  it  through  meadows  of 
exquisite  verdure,  is  spread  forth  into  a  placid  expanse  of 
waters,  which  reflects  its  majestic  assemblage  of  towers,  and 
spires,  and  domes,  embosomed  among  aged  trees. 

I  enjoyed  this  scene;  and  yet  my  enjoyment  was  em- 
bittered both  by  the  memory  of  the  past,  and  the  anticipation 
of  the  future.  I  was  formed  for  peaceful  happiness.  During 
my  youthful  days  discontent  never  visited  my  mind ;  and 
if  I  was  ever  overcome  by  ennui,  the  sight  of  what  is 
beautiful  in  nature,  or  the  study  of  what  is  excellent  and 
sublime  in  the  productions  of  man,  could  always  interest 
my  heart,  and  communicate  elasticity  to  my  spirits.  But 
I  am  a  blasted  tree ;  the  bolt  has  entered  my  soul ;  and  I 
felt  then  that  I  should  survive  to  exhibit,  what  I  shall  soon 
cease  to  be — a  miserable  spectacle  of  wrecked  humanity, 
pitiable  to  others,  and  intolerable  to  myself. 

We  passed  a  considerable  period  at  Oxford,  rambling 
among  its  environs,  and  endeavouring  to  identify  every  spot 
which  might  relate  to  the  most  animating  epoch  of  English 
history.  Our  little  voyages  of  discovery  were  often  pro- 
longed by  the  successive  objects  that  presented  themselves. 
We  visited  the  tomb  of  the  illustrious  Hampden,  and  the 
field  on  which  that  patriot  fell.  For  a  moment  my  soul 
was  elevated  from  its  debasing  and  miserable  fears,  to  con- 
template the  divine  ideas  of  liberty  and  self-sacrifice,  of 
which  these  sights  were  the  monuments  and  the  remem- 
brancers. For  an  instant  I  dared  to  shake  off  my  chains, 
and  look  around  me  with  a  free  and  lofty  spirit ;  but  the 


142  FRANKENSTEIN  ;    OB, 

iron  had  eaten  into  my  flesh,  and  I  sank  again,  trembling 
and  hopeless,  into  my  miserable  self. 

We  left  Oxford  with  regret,  and  proceeded  to  Matlock, 
•which  was  our  next  place  of  rest.  The  country  in  the 
neighbourhood  of  this  village  resembled,  to  a  greater  degree, 
the  scenery  of  Switzerland ;  but  every  thing  is  on  a  lower 
scale,  and  the  green  hills  want  the  crown  of  distant  white 
Alps,  which  always  attendonthe  piny  mountains  of  my  native 
country.  We  visited  the  wondrous  cave,  and  the  little 
cabinets  of  natural  history,  where  the  curiosities  are  disposed 
in  the  same  manner  as  in  the  collections  at  Servox  and  Cha- 
mounix.  The  latter  name  made  me  tremble,  when  pro- 
nounced by  Henry  ;  and  I  hastened  to  quit  Matlock,  with 
which  that  terrible  scene  was  thus  associated. 

From  Derby,  still  journeying  northward,  we  passed  two 
months  in  Cumberland  and  Westmorland.  I  could  now 
almost  fancy  myself  among  the  Swiss  mountains.  The 
little  patches  of  snow  which  yet  lingered  on  the  northern 
sides  of  the  mountains,  the  lakes,  and  the  dashing  of  the 
rocky  streams,  were  all  familiar  and  dear  sights  to  me. 
Here  also  we  made  some  acquaintances,  who  almost  con- 
trived to  cheat  me  into  happiness.  The  delight  of  Clerval 
was  proportionably  greater  than  mine;  his  mind  expanded 
in  the  company  of  men  of  talent,  and  he  found  in  his  own 
nature  greater  capacities  and  resources  than  he  could  have 
imagined  himself  to  have  possessed  while  he  associated  with 
his  inferiors.  <c  I  could  pass  my  life  here,"  said  he  to  me; 
"  and  among  these  mountains  I  should  scarcely  regret 
Switzerland  and  the  Rhine." 

But  he  found  that  a  traveller's  life  is  one  that  includes 
much  pain  amidst  its  enjoyments.  His  feelings  are  for 
ever  on  the  stretch ;  and  when  he  begins  to  sink  into  repose, 
he  finds  himself  obliged  to  quit  that  on  which  he  rests  in 
pleasure  for  something  new,  which  again  engages  his  at- 
tention, and  which  also  he  forsakes  for  other  novelties. 

We  had  scarcely  visited  the  various  lakes  of  Cumberland 
and  Westmorland,  and  conceived  an  affection  for  some  of 
the  inhabitants,  when  the  period  of  our  appointment  with 
our  Scotch  friend  approached,  and  we  left  them  to  travel  on. 
For  my  own  part  I  was  not  sorry.  I  had  now  neglected 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  143 

my  promise  for  some  time,  and  I  feared  the  effects  of  the 
daemon's  disappointment.  He  might  remain  in  Switzerland, 
and  wreak  his  vengeance  on  my  relatives.  This  idea  pur- 
sued me,  and  tormented  me  at  every  moment  from  which 
I  might  otherwise  have  snatched  repose  and  peace.  I 
waited  for  my  letters  with  feverish  impatience  :  if  they  were 
delayed,  I  was  miserable,  and  overcome  by  a  thousand  fears; 
and  when  they  arrived,  and  I  saw  the  superscription  of 
Elizabeth  or  my  father,  I  hardly  dared  to  read  and  ascertain 
my  fate.  Sometimes  I  thought  that  the  fiend  followed  me, 
and  might  expedite  my  remissness  by  murdering  my  com- 
panion. When  these  thoughts  possessed  me,  I  would  not 
quit  Henry  for  a  moment,  but  followed  him  as  his  shadow, 
to  protect  him  from  the  fancied  rage  of  his  destroyer. 
I  felt  as  if  I  had  committed  some  great  crime,  the  con- 
sciousness of  which  haunted  me.  I  was  guiltless,  but  I 
had  indeed  drawn  down  a  horrible  curse  upon  my  head,  as 
mortal  as  that  of  crime. 

I  visited  Edinburgh  with  languid  eyes  and  mind ;  and 
yet  that  city  might  have  interested  the  most  unfortunate 
being.  Clerval  did  not  like  it  so  well  as  Oxford :  for  the 
antiquity  of  the  latter  city  was  more  pleasing  to  him.  But 
the  beauty  and  regularity  of  the  new  town  of  Edinburgh, 
its  romantic  castle,  and  its  environs,  the  most  delightful  in 
the  world,  Arthur's  Seat,  St.  Bernard's  Well,  and  the  Pent- 
land  Hills,  compensated  him  for  the  change,  and  filled  him 
with  cheerfulness  and  admiration.  But  I  was  impatient  to 
arrive  at  the  termination  of  my  journey. 

We  left  Edinburgh  in  a  week,  passing  through  Coupar, 
St.  Andrew's,  and  along  the  banks  of  the  Tay,  to  Perth, 
where  our  friend  expected  us.  But  I  was  in  no  mood  to 
laugh  and  talk  with  strangers,  or  enter  into  their  feelings  or 
plans  with  the  good  humour  expected  from  a  guest ;  and 
accordingly  I  told  Clerval  that  I  wished  to  make  the  tour  of 
Scotland  alone.  "  Do  you,"  said  I,  "  enjoy  yourself,  and 
let  this  be  our  rendezvous.  I  may  be  absent  a  month  or 
two ;  but  do  not  interfere  with  my  motions,  I  entreat  you : 
leave  me  to  peace  and  solitude  for  a  short  time ;  and  when 
I  return,  I  hope  it  will  be  with  a  lighter  heart,  more  con- 
genial to  your  own  temper." 


144  FRANKENSTEIN;  on, 

Henry  wished  to  dissuade  me ;  but.,  seeing  me  bent  on 
this  plan,  ceased  to  remonstrate.  He  entreated  me  to  write 
often.  "  I  had  rather  be  with  you/'  he  said,  "  in  your 
solitary  rambles,  than  with  these  Scotch  people,  whom  I  do 
not  know :  hasten  then,  my  dear  friend,  to  return,  that  I 
may  again  feel  myself  somewhat  at  home,  which  I  cannot 
do  in  your  absence." 

Having  parted  from  my  friend,  I  determined  to  visit 
some  remote  spot  of  Scotland,  and  finish  my  work  in  soli- 
tude. I  did  not  doubt  but  that  the  monster  followed  me, 
and  would  discover  himself  to  me  when  I  should  have 
finished,  that  he  might  receive  his  companion. 

With  this  resolution  I  traversed  the  northern  highlands, 
and  fixed  on  one  of  the  remotest  of  the  Orkneys  as  the  scene 
of  my  labours.  It  was  a  place  fitted  for  such  a  work,  being 
hardly  more  than  a  rock,  whose  high  sides  were  continually 
beaten  upon  by  the  waves.  The  soil  was  barren,  scarcely 
affording  pasture  for  a  few  miserable  cows,  and  oatmeal  for 
its  inhabitants,  which  consisted  of  five  persons,  whose  gaunt 
and  scraggy  limbs  gave  tokens  of  their  miserable  fare. 
Vegetables  and  bread,  when  they  indulged  in  such  luxuries, 
and  even  fresh  water,  was  to  be  procured  from  the  main 
land,  which  was  about  five  miles  distant. 

On  the  whole  island  there  were  but  three  miserable  huts, 
and  one  of  these  was  vacant  when  I  arrived.  This  I  hired. 
It  contained  but  two  rooms,  and  these  exhibited  all  the 
squalidness  of  the  most  miserable  penury.  The  thatch 
had  fallen  in,  the  walls  were  unplastered,  and  the  door  was 
off  its  hinges.  I  ordered  it  to  be  repaired,  bought  some 
furniture,  and  took  possession ;  an  incident  which  would, 
doubtless,  have  occasioned  some  surprise,  had  not  all  the 
senses  of  the  cottagers  been  benumbed  by  want  and  squalid 
poverty.  As  it  was,  I  lived  ungazed  at  and  unmolested, 
hardly  thanked  for  the  pittance  of  food  and  clothes  which 
I  gave  ;  so  much  does  suffering  blunt  even  the  coarsest 
sensations  of  men. 

In  this  retreat  I  devoted  the  morning  to  labour ;  but  in 
the  evening,  when  the  weather  permitted,  I  walked  on  the 
stony  beach  of  the  sea,  to  listen  to  the  waves  as  they  roared 
and  dashed  at  my  feet.  It  was  a  monotonous  yet  ever- 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  145 

changing  scene.  I  thought  of  Switzerland  j  it  was  far 
different  from  this  desolate  and  appalling  landscape.  Its 
hills  are  covered  with  vines,  and  its  cottages  are  scattered 
thickly  in  the  plains.  Its  fair  lakes  reflect  a  hlue  and  gentle 
sky ;  and.,  when  troubled  by  the  winds,  their  tumult  is  but 
as  the  play  of  a  lively  infant,  when  compared  to  the  roar- 
ings of  the  giant  ocean. 

In  this  manner  I  distributed  my  occupations  when  I  first 
arrived ;  but,  as  I  proceeded  in  my  labour,  it  became  every 
day  more  horrible  and  irksome  to  me.  Sometimes  I  could 
not  prevail  on  myself  to  enter  my  laboratory  for  several 
days  ;  and  at  other  times  I  toiled  day  and  night  in  order 
to  complete  my  work.  It  was,  indeed,  a  filthy  process  in 
which  I  was  engaged.  During  my  first  experiment,  a  kind 
of  enthusiastic  frenzy  bad-blinded  me  to  the  horror  of  my 
employment ;  my  mind  was  intently  fixed  on  the  consum- 
mation of  my  labour,  and  my  eyes  were  shut  to  the  horror 
of  my  proceedings.  But  now  I  went  to  it  in  cold  blood, 
and  my  heart  often  sickened  at  the  work  of  my  hands. 

Thus  situated,  employed  in  the  most  detestable  occupa- 
tion, immersed  in  a  solitude  where  nothing  could  for  an 
instant  call  my  attention  from  the  actual  scene  in  which  I 
was  engaged,  my  spirits  became  unequal ;  I  grew  restless 
and  nervous.  Every  moment  I  feared  to  meet  my  per- 
secutor. Sometimes  I  sat  with  my  eyes  fixed  on  the  ground, 
fearing  to  raise  them,  lest  they  should  encounter  the  object 
which  I  so  much  dreaded  to  behold.  I  feared  to  wander 
from  the  sight  of  my  fellow-creatures,  lest  when  alone  he 
should  come  to  claim  his  companion. 

In  the  mean  time  I  worked  on,  and  my  labour  was 
already  considerably  advanced.  I  looked  towards  its  com- 
pletion with  a  tremulous  and  eager  hope,  which  I  dared  not 
trust  myself  to  question,  but  which  was  intermixed  with 
obscure  forebodings  of  evil,  that  made  my  heart  sicken  in  my 
bosom. 


146  FRANKENSTEIN;  OR, 


CHAPTER  XX. 

I  SAT  one  evening  in  my  laboratory ;  the  sun  had  set,  and 
the  moon  was  just  rising  from  the  sea ;  I  had  not  sufficient 
light  for  my  employment,  and  I  remained  idle,  in  a  pause 
of  consideration  of  whether  I  should  leave  my  labour  for 
the  night,  or  hasten  its  conclusion  by  an  unremitting  at- 
tention to  it.  As  I  sat,  a  train  of  reflection  occurred  to 
me,  which  led  me  to  consider  the  effects  of  what  I  was  now 
doing.  Three  years  before  I  was  engaged  in  the  same 
manner,  and  had  created  a  fiend  whose  unparalleled  bar- 
barity had  desolated  my  heart,  and  filled  it  for  ever  with 
the  bitterest  remorse.  I  was  now  about  to  form  another 
being,  of  whose  dispositions  I  was  alike  ignorant ;  she  might 
become  ten  thousand  times  more  malignant  than  her  mate, 
and  delight,  for  its  own  sake,  in  murder  and  wretchedness. 
He  had  sworn  to  quit  the  neighbourhood  of  man,  and  hide 
himself  in  deserts ;  but  she  had  not ;  and  she,  who  in  all 
probability  was  to  become  a  thinking  and  reasoning  animal, 
might  refuse  to  comply  with  a  compact  made  before  her 
creation.  They  might  even  hate  each  other ;  the  creature 
who  already  lived  loathed  his  own  deformity,  and  might 
he  not  conceive  a  greater  abhorrence  for  it  when  it  came 
before  his  eyes  in  the  female  form  ?  She  also  might  turn 
with  disgust  from  him  to  the  superior  beauty  of  man ;  she 
might  quit  him,  and  he  be  again  alone,  exasperated  by  the 
fresh  provocation  of  being  deserted  by  one  of  his  own 
species. 

Even  if  they  were  to  leave  Europe,  and  inhabit  the  de- 
serts of  the  new  world,  yet  one  of  the  first  results  of  those 
sympathies  for  which  the  daemon  thirsted  would  be  children, 
and  a  race  of  devils  would  be  propagated  upon  the  earth, 
•who  might  make  the  very  existence  of  the  species  of  man 
a  condition  precarious  and  full  of  terror.  Had  I  right,  for 
my  own  benefit,  to  inflict  this  curse  upon  everlasting  ge- 
nerations ?  I  had  before  been  moved  by  the  sophisms  of 
the  being  I  had  created ;  I  had  been  struck  senseless  by  his 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  147 

fiendish  threats  :  but  now,  for  the  first  time,  the  wickedness 
of  my  promise  burst  upon  me  ;  I  shuddered  to  think  that 
future  ages  might  curse  me  as  their  pest,  whose  selfishness 
had  not  hesitated  to  buy  its  own  peace  at  the  price,  per- 
haps, of  the  existence  of  the  whole  human  race. 

I  trembled,  and  my  heart  failed  within  me  ;  when,  on 
looking  up,  I  saw,  by  the  light  of  the  moon,  the  daemon  at 
the  casement.  A  ghastly  grin  wrinkled  his  lips  as  he  gazed 
on  me,  where  I  sat  fulfilling  the  task  which  he  had  allotted 
to  me.  Yes,  he  had  followed  me  in  my  travels  ;  he  had 
loitered  in  forests,  hid  himself  in  caves,  or  taken  refuge  in 
wide  and  desert  heaths ;  and  he  now  came  to  mark  my  pro- 
gress, and  claim  the  fulfilment  of  my  promise. 

As  I  looked  on  him,  his  countenance  expressed  the  ut- 
most extent  of  malice  and  treachery.  I  thought  with  a 
sensation  of  madness  on  my  promise  of  creating  another 
like  to  him,  and  trembling  with  passion,  tore  to  pieces  the 
thing  on  which  I  was  engaged.  The  wretch  saw  me  de- 
stroy the  creature  on  whose  future  existence  he  depended 
for  happiness,  and,  with  a  howl  of  devilish  despair  and  re- 
venge, withdrew. 

I  left  the  room,  and,  locking  the  door,  made  a  solemn 
vow  in  my  own  heart  never  to  resume  my  labours ;  and 
then,  with  trembling  steps,  I  sought  my  own  apartment. 
I  was  alone ;  none  were  near  me  to  dissipate  the  gloom, 
and  relieve  me  from  the  sickening  oppression  of  the  most 
terrible  reveries. 

Several  hours  passed,  and  I  remained  near  my  window 
gazing  on  the  sea ;  it  was  almost  motionless,  for  the  winds 
were  hushed,  and  all  nature  reposed  under  the  eye  of  the 
quiet  moon.  A  few  fishing  vessels  alone  specked  the  water, 
and  now  and  then  the  gentle  breeze  wafted  the  sound  of 
voices,  as  the  fishermen  called  to  one  another.  I  felt  the 
silence,  although  I  was  hardly  conscious  of  its  extreme 
profundity,  until  my  ear  was  suddenly  arrested  by  the 
paddling  of  oars  near  the  shore,  and  a  person  landed  close 
to  my  house. 

In  a  few  minutes  after,  I  heard  the  creaking  of  my  door, 
as  if  some  one  endeavoured  to  open  it  softly.  I  trembled 
from  head  to  foot;  I  felt  a  presentiment  of  who  it  was,  and 
L  2 


148  FRANKENSTEIN;  OR, 

wished  to  rouse  one  of  the  peasants  who  dwelt  in  a  cottage 
not  far  from  mine ;  but  I  was  overcome  hy  the  sensation 
of  helplessness,  so  often  felt  in  frightful  dreams,  when  you 
in  vain  endeavour  to  fly  from  an  impending  danger,  and 
was  rooted  to  the  spot. 

Presently  I  heard  the  sound  of  footsteps  along  the  pas- 
sage ;  the  door  opened,  and  the  wretch  whom  I  dreaded 
appeared.  Shutting  the  door,  he  approached  me,  and  said, 
in  a  smothered  voice  — 

"  You  have  destroyed  the  work  which  you  began  ;  what 
is  it  that  you  intend  ?  Do  you  dare  to  break  your  promise  ? 
I  have  endured  toil  and  misery  :  I  left  Switzerland  with 
you;  I  crept  along  the  shores  of  the  Rhine,  among  its  wil- 
low islands,  and  over  the  summits  of  its  hills.  I  have  dwelt 
many  months  in  the  heaths  of  England,  and  among  the 
deserts  of  Scotland.  I  have  endured  incalculable  fatigue, 
and  cold,  and  hunger ;  do  you  dare  destroy  my  hopes  ?" 

"  Begone  !  I  do  break  my  promise ;  never  will  I  create 
another  like  yourself,  equal  in  deformity  and  wickedness." 

"  Slave,  I  before  reasoned  with  you,  but  you  have  proved 
yourself  unworthy  of  my  condescension.  Remember  that  I 
have  power ;  you  believe  yourself  miserable,  but  I  can  make 
you  so  wretched  that  the  light  of  day  will  be  hateful  to  you, 
You  are  my  creator,  but  I  am  your  master ;  —  obey  ! " 

"  The  hour  of  my  irresolution  is  past,  and  the  period 
of  your  power  is  arrived.  Your  threats  cannot  move  me 
to  do  an  act  of  wickedness ;  but  they  confirm  me  in  a  de- 
termination of  not  creating  you  a  companion  in  vice.  Shall 
I,  in  cool  blood,  set  loose  upon  the  earth  a  daemon,  whose 
delight  is  in  death  and  wretchedness  ?  Begone!  I  am  firm, 
and  your  words  will  only  exasperate  my  rage." 

The  monster  saw  my  determination  in  my  face,  and 
gnashed  his  teeth  in  the  impotence  of  anger.  "  Shall  each 
man,"  cried  he,  "  find  a  wife  for  his  bosom,  and  each  beast 
have  his  mate,  and  I  be  alone  ?  I  had  feelings  of  affection, 
and  they  were  requited  by  detestation  and  scorn.  Man  I 
you  may  hate ;  but  beware  !  your  hours  will  pass  in  dread 
and  misery,  and  soon  the  bolt  will  fall  which  must  ravish 
from  you  your  happiness  for  ever.  Are  you  to  be  happy, 
while  I  grovel  in  the  intensity  of  my  wretchedness  ?  You 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  149 

can  blast  my  other  passions ;  but  revenge  remains  —  re- 
venge, henceforth  dearer  than  light  or  food  !  I  may  die ; 
but  first  you,  my  tyrant  and  tormentor,  shall  curse  the  sun 
that  gazes  on  your  misery.  Beware ;  for  I  am  fearless, 
and  therefore  powerful.  I  will  watch  with  the  wiliness  of 
a  snake,  that  I  may  sting  with  its  venom.  Man,  you  shall 
repent  of  the  injuries  you  inflict." 

"  Devil,  cease ;  and  do  not  poison  the  air  with  these 
sounds  of  malice.  I  have  declared  my  resolution  to  you, 
and  I  am  no  coward  to  bend  beneath  words.  Leave  me ; 
I  am  inexorable." 

e(  It  is  well.  I  go ;  but  remember,  I  shall  be  with  you 
on  your  wedding-night." 

I  started  forward,  and  exclaimed,  "  Villain  !  before  you 
sign  my  death-warrant,  be  sure  that  you  are  yourself  safe." 

I  would  have  seized  him ;  but  he  eluded  me,  and 
quitted  the  house  with  precipitation.  In  a  few  moments 
I  saw  him  in  his  boat,  which  shot  across  the  waters  with 
an  arrowy  swiftness,  and  was  soon  lost  amidst  the  waves. 

All  was  again  silent ;  but  his  words  rung  in  my  ears.  I 
burned  with  rage  to  pursue  the  murderer  of  my  peace,  and 
precipitate  him  into  the  ocean.  I  walked  up  and  down  my 
room  hastily  and  perturbed,  while  my  imagination  conjured 
up  a  thousand  images  to  torment  and  sting  me.  Why  had 
I  not  followed  him,  and  closed  with  him  in  mortal  strife  ? 
But  I  had  suffered  him  to  depart,  and  he  had  directed  his 
course  towards  the  main  land.  I  shuddered  to  think  who 
might  be  the  next  victim  sacrificed  to  his  insatiate  revenge. 
And  then  I  thought  again  of  his  words  —  "  I  will  be  with 
you  on  your  wedding-night"  That  then  was  the  period 
fixed  for  the  fulfilment  of  my  destiny.  In  that  hour  I 
should  die,  and  at  once  satisfy  and  extinguish  his  malice. 
The  prospect  did  not  move  me  to  fear ;  yet  when  I  thought 
of  my  beloved  Elizabeth,  —  of  her  tears  and  endless  sorrow, 
when  she  should  find  her  lover  so  barbarously  snatched 
from  her,  —  tears,  the  first  I  had  shed  for  many  months, 
streamed  from  my  eyes,  and  I  resolved  not  to  fall  before 
my  enemy  without  a  bitter  struggle. 

»    The  night  passed  away,  and  the  sun  rose  from  the  ocean ; 
my  feelings  became  calmer,  if  it  may  be  called  calmness. 
I  3 


1 50  FRANKENSTEIN  ;    OR, 

when  the  violence  of  rage  sinks  into  the  depths  of  despair. 
I  left  the  house,  the  horrid  scene  of  the  last  night's  con- 
tention_,  and  walked  on  the  beach  of  the  sea,  which  I  almost 
regarded  as  an  insuperable  barrier  between  me  and  my 
fellow-creatures ;  nay,  a  wish  that  such  should  prove  the 
fact  stole  across  me.  I  desired  that  I  might  pass  my  life 
on  that  barren  rock,  wearily,  it  is  true,  but  uninterrupted 
by  any  sudden  shock  of  misery.  If  I  returned,  it  was  to 
be  sacrificed,  or  to  see  those  whom  I  most  loved  die  under 
the  grasp  of  a  daemon  whom  I  had  myself  created. 

I  walked  about  the  isle  like  a  restless  spectre,  separated 
from  all  it  loved,  and  miserable  in  the  separation.  When 
it  became  noon,  and  the  sun  rose  higher,  I  lay  down  on 
the  grass,  and  was  overpowered  by  a  deep  sleep.  I  had 
been  awake  the  whole  of  the  preceding  night,  my  nerves 
were  agitated,  and  my  eyes  inflamed  by  watching  and 
misery.  The  sleep  into  which  I  now  sunk  refreshed  me  ; 
and  when  I  awoke,  I  again  felt  as  if  I  belonged  to  a  race 
of  human  beings  like  myself,  and  I  began  to  reflect  upon 
what  had  passed  with  greater  composure  ;  yet  still  the  words 
of  the  fiend  rung  in  my  ears  like  a  death-knell,  they  ap- 
peared like  a  dream,  yet  distinct  and  oppressive  as  a  reality. 

The  sun  had  far  descended,  and  I  still  sat  on  the  shore, 
satisfying  my  appetite,  which  had  become  ravenous,  with 
an  oaten  cake,  when  I  saw  a  fishing-boat  land  close  to  me, 
and  one  of  the  men  brought  me  a  packet ;  it  contained  let- 
ters from  Geneva,  and  one  from  Clerval,  entreating  me  to 
join  him.  He  said  that  he  was  wearing  away  his  time 
fruitlessly  where  he  was ;  that  letters  from  the  friends 
he  had  formed  in  London  desired  his  return  to  complete 
the  negotiation  they  had  entered  into  for  his  Indian  enter- 
prise. He  could  not  any  longer  delay  his  departure  ;  but 
as  his  journey  to  London  might  be  followed,  even  sooner 
than  he  now  conjectured,  by  his  longer  voyage,  he  entreated 
me  to  bestow  as  much  of  my  society  on  him  as  I  could 
spare.  He  besought  me,  therefore,  to  leave  my  solitary 
isle,  and  to  meet  him  at  Perth,  that  we  might  proceed 
southwards  together.  This  letter  in  a  degree  recalled  me 
to  life,  and  I  determined  to  quit  my  island  at  the  expiration 
of  two  days. 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  151 

Yet,  before  I  departed,  there  was  a  task  to  perform,  on 
which  I  shuddered  to  reflect :  I  must  pack  up  my  chemical 
instruments  ;  and  for  that  purpose  I  must  enter  the  room 
which  had  been  the  scene  of  my  odious  work,  and  I  must 
handle  those  utensils,  the  sight  of  which  was  sickening  to 
me.  The  next  morning,  at  daybreak,  I  summoned  suf- 
ficient courage,  and  unlocked  the  door  of  my  laboratory. 
The  remains  of  the  half-finished  creature,  whom  I  had 
destroyed,  lay  scattered  on  the  floor,  and  I  almost  felt  as  if 
I  had  Mangled  the  living  flesh  of  a  human  being.  I  paused 
to  collect  myself,  and  then  entered  the  chamber.  With 
trembling  hand  I  conveyed  the  instruments  out  of  the 
room ;  bit  I  reflected  that  I  ought  not  to  leave  the  relics 
of  my  work  to  excite  the  horror  and  suspicion  of  the  pea- 
sants ;  and  I  accordingly  put  them  into  a  basket,  with  a 
great  qiantity  of  stones,  and,  laying  them  up,  determined 
to  throw  them  into  the  sea  that  vary  night ;  and  in  the 
mean  tine  I  sat  upon  the  beach,  employed  in  cleaning  and 
arranging  my  chemical  apparatus. 

Notling  could  be  more  complete  than  the  alteration  that 
had  talen  place  in  my  feelings  since  the  night  of  the  ap- 
pearance of  the  daemon.  I  had  before  regarded  my  promise 
with  a  gloomy  despair,  as  a  thing  that,  with  whatever  con- 
sequents, must  be  fulfilled ;  but  I  now  felt  as  if  a  film 
had  beei  taken  from  before  my  eyes,  and  that  I,  for  the 
first  tim<,  saw  clearly.  The  idea  of  renewing  my  labours 
did  not  br  one  instant  occur  to  me ;  the  threat  I  had  heard 
weighed  Dn  my  thoughts,  but  I  did  not  reflect  that  a  vo- 
luntary jet  of  mine  could  avert  it.  I  had  resolved  in  my 
own  mird,  that  to  create  another  like  the  fiend  I  had  first 
made  wmld  be  an  act  of  the  basest  and  most  atrocious 
selfishness ;  and  I  banished  from  my  mind  every  thought 
tha*  could  lead  to  a  different  conclusion. 

3etween  two  and  three  in  the  morning  the  moon  rose  ; 
ani  I  then,  putting  my  basket  aboard  a  little  skiff,  sailed 
ou  about  four  miles  from  the  shore.  The  scene  was  per- 
fecly  solitary :  a  few  boats  were  returning  towards  land, 
bu  I  sailed  away  from  them.  J  felt  as  if  I  was  about  the 
conmission  of  a  dreadful  crime,  and  avoided  with  shud- 
deing  anxiety  any  encounter  with  my  fellow-creatures.  At 
L  4 


1 52  FRANKENSTEIN  j    OB, 

one  time  the  moon,  which  had  before  been  clear,  was  sud- 
denly overspread   by  a  thick  cloud,  and   I  took  advantage 
of  the  moment  of  darkness,  and  cast  my  basket  into  the 
sea  :   I  listened  to  the  gurgling  sound  as  it  sunk,  and  then 
sailed  away  from  the  spot.     The  sky  became  clouded ;  but 
the  air  was  pure,  although  chilled  by  the  north-east  breeze 
that  was  then  rising.     But  it  refreshed  me,  and  filled  me 
with  such  agreeable  sensations,  that  I  resolved  to  prolong 
my  stay  on  the  water  j  and,  fixing  the  rudder  in  a  direct 
position,  stretched  myself  at  the  bottom  of  the  boat.  Cloud; 
hid  the  moon,  every  thing  was  obscure,  and  I  heard  only 
the  sound  of  the  boat,  as  its  keel  cut  through  the  waves; 
the  murmur  lulled  me,  and  in  a  short  time  I  slept  soundly. 
I  do  not  know  how  long  I  remained  in  this  situation, 
but  when  I  awoke  I  found  that  the  sun  had  already  mounted 
considerably.     The  wind  wras  high,  and  the  wa\es   con- 
tinually threatened  the  safety  of  my  little  skiff.     I  found 
that  the  wind  was  north-east,  and  must  have  drivm  me  far 
from  the  coast  from  which  I  had  embarked.   I  endeavoured 
to  change  my  course,  but  quickly  found  that,  if  1  again 
made  the  attempt,  the  boat  would  be  instantly  filkl  with 
water.    Thus  situated,  my  only  resource  was  to  drivj  before 
the  wind.     I  confess  that  I  felt  a  few  sensations  o:  terror. 
I  had  no  compass  with  me,  and  was  so  slenderly  acquainted 
with  the  geography  of  this  part  of  the  world,  that  the  sun 
was  of  little  benefit  to  me.      I  might  be  driven  into  the 
wide  Atlantic,  and  feel  all  the  tortures  of  starvation,  or  be 
swallowed  up  in  the  immeasurable  waters  that  roired  and 
buffeted  around  me.     I  had  already  been  out  mary  hours, 
and  felt  the  torment  of  a  burning  thirst,  a  preluce  to  my 
other   sufferings.     I   looked  on   the   heavens,  which  were 
covered  by  clouds  that  flew  before  the  wind,  omy  to  be 
replaced  by  others :  I  looked  upon  the  sea,  it  was  to  be  my 
grave.      "  Fiend,"  I  exclaimed,  "  your  task  is  already  id- 
filled  ! "    I  thought  of  Elizabeth,  of  my  father,  and  of  CLr- 
val ;  all  left  behind,  on  whom  the  monster  might  satify 
his  sanguinary  and  merciless  passions.     This  idea  plunged 
me  into  a  reverie,  so  despairing  and  frightful,    that  e^n 
now,  when  the  scene  is  on  the  point  of  closing  before  a< 
for  ever,  I  shudder  to  reflect  on  it. 


THE    MODERN    PR031ETHEUS. 


153 


Some  hours  passed  thus  ;  but  by  degrees,,  as  the  sun 
declined  towards  the  horizon,  the  wind  died  away  into  a 
gentle  breeze,  and  the  sea  became  free  from  breakers.  But 
these  gave  place  to  a  heavy  swell :  I  felt  sick,  and  hardly 
able  to  hold  the  rudder,  when  suddenly  I  saw  a  line  of  high 
land  towards  the  south. 

Almost  spent,  as  I  was,  by  fatigue,  and  the  dreadful 
suspense  I  endured  for  several  hours,  this  sudden  certainty 
of  life  rushed  like  a  flood  of  warm  joy  to  my  heart,  and 
tears  gushed  from  my  eyes. 

How  mutable  are  our  feelings,  and  how  strange  is  that 
clinging  love  we  have  of  life  even  in  the  excess  of  misery !  I 
constructed  another  sail  with  a  part  of  my  dress,  and  eagerly 
steered  my  course  towards  the  land.  It  had  a  wild  and 
rocky  appearance ;  but,  as  I  approached  nearer,  I  easily 
perceived  the  traces  of  cultivation.  I  saw  vessels  near  the 
shore,  and  found  myself  suddenly  transported  back  to  the 
neighbourhood  of  civilised  man.  I  carefully  traced  the 
windings  of  the  land,  and  hailed  a  steeple  which  I  at  length 
saw  issuing  from  behind  a  small  promontory.  As  I  was  in 
a  state  of  extreme  debility,  I  resolved  to  sail  directly  towards 
the  town,  as  a  place  where  I  could  most  easily  procure 
nourishment.  Fortunately  I  had  money  with  me.  As  I 
turned  the  promontory,  I  perceived  a  small  neat  town  and 
a  good  harbour,  which  I  entered,  my  heart  bounding  with 
joy  at  my  unexpected  escape. 

As  I  was  occupied  in  fixing  the  boat  and  arranging  the 
sails,  several  people  crowded  towards  the  spot.  They  seemed 
much  surprised  at  my  appearance ;  but,  instead  of  offering 
me  any  assistance,  whispered  together  with  gestures  that 
at  any  other  time  might  have  produced  in  me  a  slight 
sensation  of  alarm.  As  it  was,  I  merely  remarked  that 
they  spohe  English  ;  and  I  therefore  addressed  them  in  that 
language :  "  My  good  friends,"  said  I,  "  will  you  be  so 
kind  as  to  tell  me  the  name  of  this  town,  and  inform  me 
where  I  am  ?  " 

"  You  will  know  that  soon  enough,"  replied  a  man  with 
with  a  hoarse  voice.  "  May  be  you  are  come  to  a  place  that 
will  not  prove  much  to  your  taste  ;  but  you  will  not  be 
consulted  as  to  your  quarters,  I  promise  you." 


154  FRANKENSTEIN;  OR, 

I  was  exceedingly  surprised  on  receiving  so  rude  an 
answer  from  a  stranger ;  and  I  was  also  disconcerted  on 
perceiving  the  frowning  and  angry  countenances  of  his 
companions.  "  Why  do  you  answer  me  so  roughly  ? "  I 
replied ;  "  surely  it  is  not  the  custom  of  Englishmen  to 
receive  strangers  so  inhospitably." 

"  I  do  not  know/'  said  the  man,  "  what  the'custom  of 
the  English  may  be ;  but  is  the  custom  of  the  Irish  to  hate 
villains." 

While  this  strange  dialogue  continued,  I  perceived  the 
crowd  rapidly  increase.  Their  faces  expressed  a  mixture 
of  curiosity  and  anger,  which  annoyed,  and  in  some  degree 
alarmed  me.  I  enquired  the  way  to  the  inn  ;  but  no  one 
replied.  I  then  moved  forward,  and  a  murmuring  sound 
arose  from  the  crowd  as  they  followed  and  surrounded  me; 
when  an  ill-looking  man  approaching,  tapped  me  on  the 
shoulder,  and  said,  "  Come,  Sir,  you  must  follow  me  to 
Mr.  Kirwin's,  to  give  an  account  of  yourself." 

"  Who  is  Mr.  Kirwin  ?  Why  am  I  to  give  an  account 
of  myself  ?  Is  not  this  a  free  country  ?  " 

"  Ay,  sir,  free  enough  for  honest  folks.  Mr.  Kirwin  is 
a  magistrate ;  and  you  are  to  give  an  account  of  the  death 
of  a  gentleman  who  was  found  murdered  here  last  night." 

This  answer  startled  me;  but  I  presently  recovered 
myself.  I  was  innocent ;  that  could  easily  be  proved : 
accordingly  I  followed  my  conductor  in  silence,  and  was 
led  to  one  of  the  best  houses  in  the  town.  I  was  ready  to 
sink  from  fatigue  and  hunger ;  but,  being  surrounded  by  a 
crowd,  I  thought  it  politic  to  rouse  all  my  strength,  that 
no  physical  debility  might  be  construed  into  apprehension 
or  conscious  guilt.  Little  did  I  then  expect  the  calamity 
that  was  in  a  few  moments  to  overwhelm  me,  and  extin- 
guish in  horror  and  despair  all  fear  of  ignominy  or  death. 

I  must  pause  here ;  for  it  requires  all  my  fortitude  to 
recall  the  memory  of  the  frightful  events  which  I  am  about 
to  relate,  in  proper  detail,  to  my  recollection. 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  155 


CHAPTER  XXI. 

I  WAS  soon  introduced  into  the  presence  of  the  magistrate, 
an  old  benevolent  man,,  with  calm  and  mild  manners.  He 
looked  upon  me,  however,  with  some  degree  of  severity : 
and  then,  turning  towards  my  conductors,  he  asked  who 
appeared  as  witnesses  on  this  occasion. 

About  half  a  dozen  men  came  forward ;  and,  one  being 
selected  by  the  magistrate,  he  deposed,  that  he  had  been 
out  fishing  the  night  before  with  his  son  and  brother-in- 
law,  Daniel  Nugent,  when,  about  ten  o'clock,  they  observed 
a  strong  northerly  blast  rising,  and  they  accordingly  put 
in  for  port.  It  was  a  very  dark  night,  as  the  moon  had 
not  yet  risen ;  they  did  not  land  at  the  harbour,  but,  as 
they  had  been  accustomed,  at  a  creek  about  two  miles  below. 
He  walked  on  first,  carrying  a  part  of  the  fishing  tackle, 
and  his  companions  foUowed  him  at  some  distance.  As 
he  was  proceeding  along  the  sands,  he  struck  his  foot 
against  something,  and  fell  at  his  length  on  the  ground. 
His  companions  came  up  to  assist  him ;  and,  by  the  light 
of  their  lantern,  they  found  that  he  had  fallen  on  the  body 
of  a  man,  who  was  to  all  appearance  dead.  Their  first 
supposition  was,  that  it  was  the  corpse  of  some  person  who 
had  been  drowned,  and  was  thrown  on  shore  by  the  waves ; 
but,  on  examination,  they  found  that  the  clothes  were  not 
wet,  and  even  that  the  body  was  not  then  cold.  They 
instantly  carried  it  to  the  cottage  of  an  old  woman  near  the 
spot,  and  endeavoured,  but  in  vain,  to  restore  it  to  life. 
It  appeared  to  be  a  handsome  young  man,  about  five  and 
twenty  years  of  age.  He  had  apparently  been  strangled  ; 
for  there  was  no  sign  of  any  violence,  except  the  black 
mark  of  fingers  on  his  neck. 

The  first  part  of  this  deposition  did  not  in  the  least 
interest  me ;  but  when  the  mark  of  the  fingers  was  men- 
tioned, I  remembered  the  murder  of  my  brother,  and  felt 
myself  extremely  agitated ;  my  limbs  trembled,  and  a  mist 
came  over  my  eyes,  which  obliged  me  to  lean  on  a  chair 


156  FRANKENSTEIN;  OR, 

for  support.  The  magistrate  observed  me  with  a  keen 
eye,  and  of  course  drew  an  unfavourable  augury  from  my 
manner. 

The  son  confirmed  his  father's  account :  but  when  Daniel 
Nugent  was  called,  he  swore  positively  that,  just  before  the 
fall  of  his  companion,  he  saw  a  boat,  with  a  single  man  in 
it,  at  a  short  distance  from  the  shore;  and,  as  far  as  he 
could  judge  by  the  light  of  a  few  stars,  it  was  the  same  boat 
in  which  I  had  just  landed. 

A  woman  deposed,  that  she  lived  near  the  beach,  and 
was  standing  at  the  door  of  her  cottage,  waiting  for  the  re- 
turn of  the  fishermen,  about  an  hour  before  she  heard  of 
the  discovery  of  the  body,  when  she  saw  a  boat,  with  only 
one  man  in  it,  push  off  from  that  part  of  the  shore  where 
the  corpse  was  afterwards  found. 

Another  woman  confirmed  the  account  of  the  fishermen 
having  brought  the  body  into  her  house ;  it  was  not  cold. 
They  put  it  into  a  bed,  and  rubbed  it ;  and  Daniel  went  to 
the  town  for  an  apothecary,  but  life  was  quite  gone. 

Several  other  men  were  examined  concerning  my  land- 
ing; and  they  agreed,  that,  with  the  strong  north  wind 
that  had  arisen  during  the  night,  it  was  very  probable  that 
I  had  beaten  about  for  many  hours,  and  had  been  obliged 
to  return  nearly  to  the  same  spot  from  which  I  had  de- 
parted. Besides,  they  observed  that  it  appeared  that  I  had 
brought  the  body  from  another  place,  and  it  was  likely, 
that  as  I  did  not  appear  to  know  the  shore,  I  might 
have  put  into  the  harbour  ignorant  of  the  distance  of  the 
town  of  *  *  *  from  the  place  where  I  had  deposited 
the  corpse. 

Mr.  Kirwin,  on  hearing  this  evidence,  desired  that  I  should 
be  taken  into  the  room  where  the  body  lay  for  interment, 
that  it  might  be  observed  what  effect  the  sight  of  it  would 
produce  upon  me.  This  idea  was  probably  suggested  by 
the  extreme  agitation  I  had  exhibited  when  the  mode  of 
the  murder  had  been  described.  I  was  accordingly  con- 
ducted, by  the  magistrate  and  several  other  persons,  to  the 
inn.  I  could  not  help  being  struck  by  the  strange  coinci- 
dences that  had  taken  place  during  this  eventful  night ;  but, 
knowing  that  I  had  been  conversing  with  several  persons  in 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  157 

the  island  I  had  inhabited  about  the  time  that  the  body  had 
been  found,  I  was  perfectly  tranquil  as  to  the  consequences 
of  the  affair. 

I  entered  the  room  where  the  corpse  lay,  and  was  led  up 
to  the  coffin.  How  can  I  describe  my  sensations  on  be- 
holding it?  I  feel  yet  parched  with  horror,  nor  can  I 
reflect  on  that  terrible  moment  without  shuddering  and 
agony.  The  examination,  the  presence  of  the  magistrate 
and  witnesses,  passed  like  a  dream  from  my  memory,  when 
I  saw  the  lifeless  form  of  Henry  Clerval  stretched  before 
me.  I  gasped  for  breath;  and,  throwing  myself  on  the 
body,  I  exclaimed,  "  Have  my  murderous  machinations  de- 
prived you  also,  my  dearest  Henry,  of  life  ?  Two  I  have 
already  destroyed ;  other  victims  await  their  destiny :  but 
you,  Clerval,  my  friend,  my  benefactor " 

The  human  frame  could  no  longer  support  the  agonies 
that  I  endured,  and  I  was  carried  out  of  the  room  in  strong 
convulsions. 

A  fever  succeeded  to  this.  I  lay  for  two  months  on  the 
point  of  death :  my  ravings,  as  I  afterwards  heard,  were 
frightful ;  I  called  myself  the  murderer  of  William,  of 
Justine,  and  of  Clerval.  Sometimes  I  entreated  my  at- 
tendants to  assist  me  in  the  destruction  of  the  fiend  by 
whom  I  was  tormented ;  and  at  others,  I  felt  the  fingers  of 
the  monster  already  grasping  my  neck,  and  screamed  aloud 
with  agony  and  terror.  Fortunately,  as  I  spoke  my  native 
language,  Mr.  Kirwin  alone  understood  me ;  but  my  ges- 
tures and  bitter  cries  were  sufficient  to  affright  the  other 
witnesses. 

Why  did  I  not  die?  More  miserable  than  man  ever 
was  before,  why  did  I  not  sink  into  forgetfulness  and  rest? 
Death  snatches  away  many  blooming  children,  the  only 
hopes  of  their  doating  parents  :  how  many  brides  and 
youthful  lovers  have  been  one  day  in  the  bloom  of  health 
and  hope,  and  the  next  a  prey  for  worms  and  the  decay 
of  the  tomb  !  Of  what  materials  was  I  made,  that  I  could 
thus  resist  so  many  shocks,  which,  like  the  turning  of  the 
wheel,  continually  renewed  the  torture  ? 

But  I  was  doomed  to  live  ;  and,  in  two  months,  found 
myself  as  awaking  from  a  dream,  in  a  prison,  stretched 


158  FRANKENSTEIN;  OR, 

on  a  wretched  bed,  surrounded  by  gaolers,  turnkeys,  bolts, 
and  all  the  miserable  apparatus  of  a  dungeon.  It  was 
morning,  I  remember,  when  I  thus  awoke  to  understand- 
ing :  I  had  forgotten  the  particulars  of  what  had  happened, 
and  only  felt  as  if  some  great  misfortune  had  suddenly 
overwhelmed  me ;  but  when  I  looked  around,  and  saw  the 
barred  windows,  and  the  squalidness  of  the  room  in  which 
I  was,  all  flashed  across  my  memory,  and  I  groaned  bit- 
terly. 

This  sound  disturbed  an  old  woman  who  was  sleeping  in 
a  chair  beside  me.  She  was  a  hired  nurse,  the  wife  of  one 
of  the  turnkeys,  and  her  countenance  expressed  all  those 
bad  qualities  which  often  characterise  that  class.  The  lines 
of  her  face  were  hard  and  rude,  like  that  of  persons  accus- 
tomed to  see  without  sympathising  in  sights  of  misery. 
Her  tone  expressed  her  entire  indifference ;  she  addressed 
me  in  English,  and  the  voice  struck  me  as  one  that  I  had 
heard  during  my  sufferings :  — 

"  Are  you  better  now,  sir  ?  "  said  she. 

I  replied  in  the  same  language,  with  a  feeble  voice,  f(  I 
believe  I  am ;  but  if  it  be  all  true,  if  indeed  I  did  not 
dream,  I  am  sorry  that  I  am  still  alive  to  feel  this  misery 
and  horror." 

' '  For  that  matter,"  replied  the  old  woman,  f '  if  you 
mean  about  the  gentleman  you  murdered,  I  believe  that  it 
were  better  for  you  if  you  were  dead,  for  I  fancy  it  will  go 
hard  with  you  !  However,  that's  none  of  my  business;  I  am 
sent  to  nurse  you,  and  get  you  well ;  I  do  my  duty  with 
a  safe  conscience ;  it  were  well  if  every  body  did  the 
same." 

I  turned  with  loathing  from  the  woman  who  could  utter 
so  unfeeling  a  speech  to  a  person  just  saved,  on  the  very 
edge  of  death ;  but  I  felt  languid,  and  unable  to  reflect  on 
all  that  had  passed.  The  whole  series  of  my  life  appeared 
to  me  as  a  dream ;  I  sometimes  doubted  if  indeed  it  were 
all  true,  for  it  never  presented  itself  to  my  mind  with  the 
force  of  reality. 

As  the  images  that  floated  before  me  became  more  dis- 
tinct, I  grew  feverish ;  a  darkness  pressed  around  me :  no 
one  was  near  me  who  soothed  me  with  the  gentle  voice  of 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  159 

love ;  no  dear  hand  supported  me.  The  physician  came 
and  prescribed  medicines,  and  the  old  woman  prepared 
them  for  me ;  but  utter  carelessness  was  visible  in  the  first, 
and  the  expression  of  brutality  was  strongly  marked  in  the 
visage  of  the  second.  Who  could  be  interested  in  the 
fate  of  a  murderer,  but  the  hangman  who  would  gain  his 
fee? 

These  were  my  first  reflections ;  but  I  soon  learned  that 
Mr.  Kirwin  had  shown  me  extreme  kindness.  He  had 
caused  the  best  room  in  the  prison  to  be  prepared  for  me 
(wretched  indeed  was  the  best)  ;  and  it  was  he  who  had 
provided  a  physician  and  a  nurse.  It  is  true,  he  seldom 
came  to  see  me  ;  for,  although  he  ardently  desired  to  relieve 
the  sufferings  of  every  human  creature,  he  did  not  wish  to 
be  present  at  the  agonies  and  miserable  ravings  of  a  mur- 
derer. He  came,  therefore,  sometimes,  to  see  that  I  was 
not  neglected ;  but  his  visits  were  short,  and  with  long 
intervals. 

One  day,  while  I  was  gradually  recovering,  I  was  seated 
in  a  chair,  my  eyes  half  open,  and  my  cheeks  livid  like 
those  in  death.  I  was  overcome  by  gloom  and  misery,  and 
often  reflected  I  had  better  seek  death  than  desire  to  remain 
in  a  world  which  to  me  was  replete  with  wretchedness.  At 
one  time  I  considered  whether  I  should  not  declare  myself 
guilty,  and  suffer  the  penalty  of  the  law,  less  innocent  than 
poor  Justine  had  been.  Such  were  my  thoughts,  when  the 
door  of  my  apartment  was  opened,  and  Mr.  Kirwin  entered. 
His  countenance  expressed  sympathy  and  compassion ;  he 
drew  a  chair  close  to  mine,  and  addressed  me  in  French  — 
"  I  fear  that  this  place  is  very  shocking  to  you ;  can  I 
do  any  thing  to  make  you  more  comfortable  ?  " 

"  I  thank  you  ;  but  all  that  you  mention  is  nothing  to 
me :  on  the  whole  earth  there  is  no  comfort  which  I  am 
capable  of  receiving." 

"  I  know  that  the  sympathy  of  a  stranger  can  be  but  of 
little  relief  to  one  borne  down  as  you  are  by  so  strange  a 
misfortune.  But  you  will,  I  hope,  soon  quit  this  melan- 
choly abode  ;  for,  doubtless,  evidence  can  easily  be  brought 
to  free  you  from  the  criminal  charge." 

"  That  is  my  least  concern  :  I  am,  by  a  course  of  strange 


]60 


FRANKENSTEIN; 


events,  become  the  most  miserable  of  mortals.  Persecuted 
and  tortured  as  I  am  and  have  been,  can  death  be  any  evil 
to  me  ?  " 

"  Nothing  indeed  could  be  more  unfortunate  and  ago- 
nising than  the  strange  chances  that  have  lately  occurred. 
You  were  thrown,  by  some  surprising  accident,  on  this 
shore.,  renowned  for  its  hospitality ;  seized  immediately, 
and  charged  with  murder.  The  first  sight  that  was  pre- 
sented to  your  eyes  was  the  body  of  your  friend,  murdered 
in  so  unaccountable  a  manner,  and  placed,  as  it  were,  by  some 
fiend  across  your  path." 

As  Mr.  Kirwin  said  this,  notwithstanding  the  agitation 
I  endured  on  this  retrospect  of  my  sufferings,  I  also  felt 
considerable  surprise  at  the  knowledge  he  seemed  to  possess 
concerning  me.  I  suppose  some  astonishment  was  exhi- 
bited in  my  countenance  j  for  Mr.  Kirwin  hastened  to 
say  — 

ff  Immediately  upon  your  being  taken  ill,  all  the  papers 
that  were  on  your  person  were  brought  me,  and  I  examined 
them  that  I  might  discover  some  trace  by  which  I  could 
send  to  your  relations  an  account  of  your  misfortune  and 
illness.  I  found  several  letters,  and,  among  others,  one 
which  I  discovered  from  its  commencement  to  be  from  your 
father.  I  instantly  wrote  to  Geneva :  nearly  two  months 
have  elapsed  since  the  departure  of  my  letter. — But  you  are 
ill ;  even  now  you  tremble :  you  are  unfit  for  agitation  of 
any  kind." 

ff  This  suspense  is  a  thousand  times  worse  than  the 
most  horrible  event :  tell  me  what  new  scene  of  death  has 
been  acted,  and  whose  murder  I  am  now  to  lament?" 

e(  Your  family  is  perfectly  well,"  said  Mr.  Kirwin,  with 
gentleness ;  "  and  some  one,  a  friend,  is  come  to  visit 
you." 

I  know  not  by  what  chain  of  thought,  the  idea  presented 
itself,  but  it  instantly  darted  into  my  mind  that  the  mur- 
derer had  come  to  mock  at  my  misery,  and  taunt  me  with 
the  death  of  Clerval,  as  a  new  incitement  for  me  to  comply 
with  his  hellish  desires.  I  put  my  hand  before  my  eyes, 
and  cried  out  in  agony  — 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  l6'l 

"  Oh  !  take  him  away  !  I  cannot  see  him  ;  for  God's  sake, 
do  not  let  him  enter  ! " 

Mr.  Kirwin  regarded  me  with  a  troubled  countenance. 
He  could  not  help  regarding  my  exclamation  as  a  presump- 
tion of  my  guilt,  and  said,  in  rather  a  severe  tone  — 

"  I  should  have  thought,  young  man,  that  the  presence 
of  your  father  would  have  been  welcome,  instead  of  inspir- 
ing such  violent  repugnance." 

"  My  father  ! "  cried  I,  while  every  feature  and  every 
muscle  was  relaxed  from  anguish  to  pleasure :  ' '  is  my 
father  indeed  come  ?  How  kind,  how  very  kind  !  But 
where  is  he,  why  does  he  not  hasten  to  me  ?  " 

My  change  of  manner  surprised  and  pleased  the  magis- 
trate ;  perhaps  he  thought  that  my  former  exclamation  was 
a  momentary  return  of  delirium,  and  now  he  instantly 
resumed  his  former  benevolence.  He  rose,  and  quitted  the 
room  with  my  nurse,  and  in  a  moment  my  father  en- 
tered it. 

Nothing,  at  this  moment,  could  have  given  me  greater 
pleasure  than  the  arrival  of  my  father.  I  stretched  out  my 
hand  to  him,  and  cried  — 

"  Are  you  then  safe  —  and  Elizabeth  —  and  Ernest  ?  " 

My  father  calmed  me  with  assurances  of  their  welfare,  and 
endeavoured,  by  dwelling  on  these  subjects  so  interesting  to 
my  heart,  to  raise  my  desponding  spirits  ;  but  he  soon  felt 
that  a  prison  cannot  be  the  abode  of  cheerfulness.  "  What 
a  place  is  this  that  you  inhabit,  my  son !"  said  he,  looking 
mournfully  at  the  barred  windows,  and  wretched  appearance 
of  the  room.  "  You  travelled  to  seek  happiness,  but  a 
fatality  seems  to  pursue  you.  And  poor  Clerval  — " 

The  name  of  my  unfortunate  and  murdered  friend  was 
an  agitation  too  great  to  be  endured  in  my  weak  state  ;  I 
shed  tears. 

ft  Alas !  yes,  my  father/'  replied  I ;  "  some  destiny  of 
the  most  horrible  kind  hangs  over  me,  and  I  must  live  to 
fulfil  it,  or  surely  I  should  have  died  on  the  coffin  of 
Henry." 

We  were  not  allowed  to  converse  for  any  length  of  time, 
for  the  precarious  state  of  my  health  rendered  every  pre- 

M 


162  FRANKENSTEIN;  OB, 

caution  necessary  that  could  ensure  tranquillity.  Mr.  Kir- 
win  came  in,  and  insisted  that  my  strength  should  not  be 
exhausted  by  too  much  exertion.  But  the  appearance  of 
my  father  was  to  me  like  that  of  my  good  angel,  and  I  gra- 
dually recovered  my  health. 

As  my  sickness  quitted  me,  I  was  absorbed  by  a  gloomy 
and  black  melancholy,  that  nothing  could  dissipate.  The 
image  of  Clerval  was  for  ever  before  me,  ghastly  and  mur- 
dered. More  than  once  the  agitation  into  which  these  re- 
flections threw  me  made  my  friends  dread  a  dangerous 
relapse.  Alas !  why  did  they  preserve  so  miserable  and 
detested  a  life  ?  It  was  surely  that  I  might  fulfil  my  des- 
tiny, which  is  now  drawing  to  a  close.  Soon,  oh !  very 
soon,  will  death  extinguish  these  throbbings,  and  relieve 
me  from  the  mighty  weight  of  anguish  that  bears  me  to 
the  dust ;  and,  in  executing  the  award  of  justice,  I  shall 
also  sink  to  rest.  Then  the  appearance  of  death  was  dis- 
tant, although  the  wish  was  ever  present  to  my  thoughts ; 
and  I  often  sat  for  hours  motionless  and  speechless,  wishing 
for  some  mighty  revolution  that  might  bury  me  and  my 
destroyer  in  its  ruins. 

The  season  of  the  assizes  approached.  I  had  already 
been  three  months  in  prison ;  and  although  I  was  still  weak, 
and  in  continual  danger  of  a  relapse,  I  was  obliged  to  travel 
nearly  a  hundred  miles  to  the  county-town,  where  the  court 
was  held.  Mr.  Kirwin  charged  himself  with  every  care  of 
collecting  witnesses,  and  arranging  my  defence.  I  was 
spared  the  disgrace  of  appearing  publicly  as  a  criminal,  as 
the  case  was  not  brought  before  the  court  that  decides  on 
life  and  death.  The  grand  jury  rejected  the  bill,  on  its 
being  proved  that  I  was  on  the  Orkney  Islands  at  the  hour 
the  body  of  my  friend  was  found;  and  a  fortnight  after  my 
removal  I  was  liberated  from  prison. 

My  father  was  enraptured  on  finding  me  freed  from  the 
vexations  of  a  criminal  charge,  that  I  was  again  allowed  to 
breathe  the  fresh  atmosphere,  and  permitted  to  return  to  my 
native  country.  I  did  not  participate  in  these  feelings  ;  for 
to  me  the  walls  of  a  dungeon  or  a  palace  were  alike  hateful. 
The  cup  of  life  was  poisoned  for  ever ;  and  although  the  sun 
shone  upon  me,  as  upon  the  happy  and  gay  of  heart,  I  saw 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  l63 

around  me  nothing  but  a  dense  and  frightful  darkness,,  pe- 
netrated by  no  light  but  the  glimmer  of  two  eyes  that  glared 
upon  me.  Sometimes  they  were  the  expressive  eyes  of 
Henry,  languishing  in  death,  the  dark  orbs  nearly  covered 
by  the  lids,  and  the  long  black  lashes  that  fringed  them  ; 
sometimes  it  was  the  watery,  clouded  eyes  of  the  monster, 
as  I  first  saw  them  in  my  chamber  at  Ingolstadt. 

My  father  tried  to  awaken  in  me  the  feelings  of  affection. 
He  talked  of  Geneva,  which  I  should  soon  visit  —  of  Eli- 
zabeth and  Ernest;  but  these  words  only  drew  deep  groans 
from  me.  Sometimes,  indeed,  I  felt  a  wish  for  happiness  ; 
and  thought,  with  melancholy  delight,  of  my  beloved 
cousin;  or  longed,  with  a  devouring  maladie  du  pays, 
to  see  once  more  the  blue  lake  and  rapid  Rhone,  that  had 
been  so  dear  to  me  in  early  childhood:  but  my  general 
state  of  feeling  was  a  torpor,  in  which  a  prison  was  as 
welcome  a  residence  as  the  divinest  scene  in  nature ;  and 
these  fits  were  seldom  interrupted  but  by  paroxysms  of 
anguish  and  despair.  At  these  moments  I  often  endea- 
voured to  put  an  end  to  the  existence  I  loathed ;  and  it 
required  unceasing  attendance  and  vigilance  to  restrain  me 
from  committing  some  dreadful  act  of  violence. 

Yet  one  duty  remained  to  me,  the  recollection  of  which 
finally  triumphed  over  my  selfish  despair.  It  was  ne- 
cessary that  I  should  return  without  delay  to  Geneva,  there 
to  watch  over  the  lives  of  those  I  so  fondly  loved ;  and  to 
lie  in  wait  for  the  murderer,  that  if  any  chance  led  me  to 
the  place  of  his  concealment,  or  if  he  dared  again  to  blast  me 
by  his  presence,  I  might,  with  unfailing  aim,  put  an  end  to 
the  existence  of  the  monstrous  Image  which  I  had  endued 
with  the  mockery  of  a  soul  still  more  monstrous.  My 
father  still  desired  to  delay  our  departure,  fearful  that  I 
could  not  sustain  the  fatigues  of  a  journey  :  for  I  was  a 
shattered  wreck, — the  shadow  of  a  human  being.  My 
strength  was  gone.  I  was  a  mere  skeleton ;  and  fever  night 
and  day  preyed  upon  my  wasted  frame. 

Still,  as  1  urged  our  leaving  Ireland  with  such  inquietude 

and  impatience,  my  father  thought  it  best  to  yield.     We 

took  our  passage  on  board  a  vessel  bound  for  Havre-de- 

Grace,  and  sailed  with  a  fair  wind  from  the  Irish  shores. 

M  2 


16*4  FRANKENSTEIN;  OR, 

It  was  midnight.  I  lay  on  the  deck,,  looking  at  the  stars, 
and  listening  to  the  dashing  of  the  waves.  I  hailed  the 
darkness  that  shut  Ireland  from  my  sight ;  and  my  pulse 
beat  with  a  feverish  joy  when  I  reflected  that  I  should 
soon  see  Geneva.  The  past  appeared  to  me  in  the  light  of 
a  frightful  dream ;  yet  the  vessel  in  which  I  was,  the  wind 
that  blew  me  from  the  detested  shore  of  Ireland,  and  the 
sea  which  surrounded  me,  told  me  too  forcibly  that  I  was 
deceived  by  no  vision,  and  that  Clerval,  my  friend  and 
dearest  companion,  had  fallen  a  victim  to  me  and  the 
monster  of  my  creation.  I  repassed,  in  my  memory,  my 
whole  life  ;  my  quiet  happiness  while  residing  with  my 
family  in  Geneva,  the  death  of  my  mother,  and  my  depar- 
ture for  Ingolstadt.  I  remembered,  shuddering,  the  mad 
enthusiasm  that  hurried  me  on  to  the  creation  of  my  hideous 
enemy,  and  I  called  to  mind  the  night  in  which  he  first 
lived.  I  was  unable  to  pursue  the  train  of  thought ;  a 
thousand  feelings  pressed  upon  me,  and  I  wept  bitterly. 

Ever  since  my  recovery  from  the  fever,  I  had  been  in 
the  custom  of  taking  every  night  a  small  quantity  of  lauda- 
num ;  for  it  was  by  means  of  this  drug  only  that  I  was 
enabled  to  gain  the  rest  necessary  for  the  preservation  of 
life.  Oppressed  by  the  recollection  of  my  various  misfor- 
tunes, I  now  swallowed  double  my  usual  quantity,  and  soon 
slept  profoundly.  But  sleep  did  not  afford  me  respite  from 
thought  and  misery ;  my  dreams  presented  a  thousand 
objects  that  scared  me.  Towards  morning  I  was  possessed 
by  a  kind  of  night-mare  ;  I  felt  the  fiend's  grasp  in  my 
neck,  and  could  not  free  myself  from  it  j  groans  and  cries 
rung  in  my  ears.  My  father,  who  was  watching  over 
me,  perceiving  my  restlessness,  awoke  me ;  the  dashing 
waves  were  around  :  the  cloudy  sky  above  ;  the  fiend  was 
not  here :  a  sense  of  security,  a  feeling  that  a  truce  was 
established  between  the  present  hour  and  the  irresistible, 
disastrous  future,  imparted'  to  me  a  kind  of  calm  forgetful- 
ness,  of  which  the  human  mind  is  by  its  structure  peculiarly 
susceptible. 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  l65 


CHAPTER  XXII. 

THE  voyage  came  to  an  end.  We  landed,  and  proceeded  to 
Paris.  I  soon  found  that  I  had  overtaxed  my  strength,  and 
that  I  must  repose  before  I  could  continue  my  journey. 
My  father's  care  and  attentions  were  indefatigable ;  but  he 
did  not  know  the  origin  of  my  sufferings,  and  sought  erro- 
neous methods  to  remedy  the  incurable  ill.  He  wished  me 
to  seek  amusement  in  society.  I  abhorred  the  face  of  man. 
Oh,  not  abhorred !  they  were  my  brethren,  my  fellow  beings, 
and  I  felt  attracted  even  to  the  most  repulsive  among  them, 
as  to  creatures  of  an  angelic  nature  and  celestial  mechanism. 
But  I  felt  that  I  had  no  right  to  share  their  intercourse.  I 
had  unchained  an  enemy  among  them,  whose  joy  it  was  to 
shed  their  blood,  and  to  revel  in  their  groans.  How  they 
would,  each  and  ail,  abhor  me,  and  hunt  me  from  the  world, 
did  they  know  my  unhallowed  acts,  and  the  crimes  which 
had  their  source  in  me  ! 

My  father  yielded  at  length  to  my  desire  to  avoid  society, 
and  strove  by  various  arguments  to  banish  my  despair. 
Sometimes  he  thought  that  I  felt  deeply  the  degradation  of 
being  obliged  to  answer  a  charge  of  murder,  and  he  endea- 
voured to  prove  to  me  the  futility  of  pride. 

ff  Alas  !  my  father,"  said  I,  "  how  little  do  you  know 
me.  Human  beings,  their  feelings  and  passions,  would 
indeed  be  degraded  if  such  a  wretch  as  I  felt  pride.  Jus- 
tine, poor  unhappy  Justine,  was  as  innocent  as  I,  and  she 
suffered  the  same  charge ;  she  died  for  it ;  and  I  am  the 
cause  of  this  —  I  murdered  her.  William,  Justine,  and 
Henry  —  they  all  died  by  my  hands." 

My  father  had  often,  during  my  imprisonment,  heard  me 
make  the  same  assertion ;  when  I  thus  accused  myself,  he 
sometimes  seemed  to  desire  an  explanation,  and  at  others  he 
appeared  to  consider  it  as  the  offspring  of  delirium,  and 
that,  during  my  illness,  some  idea  of  this  kind  had  pre- 
sented itself  to  my  imagination,  the  remembrance  of  which 
I  preserved  in  my  convalescence.  I  avoided  explanation, 
M  3 


166  FRANKENSTEIN;  OR, 

and  maintained  a  continual  silence  concerning  the  wretch  I 
had  created.  I  had  a  persuasion  that  I  should  be  supposed 
mad ;  and  this  in  itself  would  for  ever  have  chained  my 
tongue.  But,,  besides,,  I  could  not  bring  myself  to  disclose  a 
secret  which  would  fill  my  hearer  with  consternation,  and 
make  fear  and  unnatural  horror  the  inmates  of  his  breast. 
I  checked,  therefore,  my  impatient  thirst  for  sympathy,  and 
was  silent  when  I  would  have  given  the  world  to  have  con- 
fided the  fatal  secret.  Yet  still  words  like  those  I  have 
recorded,  would  burst  uncontrollably  from  me.  I  could 
offer  no  explanation  of  them ;  but  their  truth  in  part  re- 
lieved the  burden  of  my  mysterious  woe. 

Upon  this  occasion  my  father  said,  with  an  expression  of 
unbounded  wonder,  "  My  dearest  Victor,  what  infatu- 
ation is  this  ?  My  dear  son,  I  entreat  you  never  to  make 
such  an  assertion  again." 

"  I  am  not  mad,"  I  cried  energetically ;  "  the  sun  and 
the  heavens,  who  have  viewed  my  operations,  can  bear  wit- 
ness of  my  truth.  I  am  the  assassin  of  those  most  innocent 
victims ;  they  died  by  my  machinations.  A  thousand  times 
would  I  have  shed  my  own  blood,  drop  by  drop,  to  have 
saved  their  lives ;  but  I  could  not,  my  father,  indeed  I 
could  not  sacrifice  the  whole  human  race." 

The  conclusion  of  this  speech  convinced  my  father  that 
my  ideas  were  deranged,  and  he  instantly  changed  the 
subject  of  our  conversation,  and  endeavoured  to  alter  the 
course  of  my  thoughts.  He  wished  as  much  as  possible  to 
obliterate  the  memory  of  the  scenes  that  had  taken  place  in 
Ireland,  and  never  alluded  to  them,  or  suffered  me  to  speak 
of  my  misfortunes. 

As  time  passed  away  I  became  more  calm :  misery  had 
her  dwelling  in  my  heart,  but  I  no  longer  talked  in  the 
same  incoherent  manner  of  my  own  crimes ;  sufficient  for 
me  was  the  consciousness  of  them.  By  the  utmost  self- 
violence,  I  curbed  the  imperious  voice  of  wretchedness, 
which  sometimes  desired  to  declare  itself  to  the  whole  world; 
and  my  manners  were  calmer  and  more  composed  than  they 
had  ever  been  since  my  journey  to  the  sea  of  ice. 

A  few  days  before  we  left  Paris  on  our  way  to  Switzer- 
land, I  received  the  following  letter  from  Elizabeth  :  — 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  167 

(C  My  dear  Friend, 

<f  It  gave  me  the  greatest  pleasure  to  receive  a  letter 
from  my  uncle  dated  at  Paris;  you  are  no  longer  at  a 
formidable  distance,  and  I  may  hope  to  see  you  in  less  than 
a  fortnight.  My  poor  cousin,,  how  much  you  must  have 
suffered !  I  expect  to  see  you  looking  even  more  ill  than 
when  you  quitted  Geneva.  This  winter  has  been  passed 
most  miserably,  tortured  as  I  have  been  by  anxious  sus- 
pense ;  yet  I  hope  to  see  peace  in  your  countenance,  and 
to  find  that  your  heart  is  not  totally  void  of  comfort  and 
tranquillity. 

"  Yet  I  fear  that  the  same  feelings  now  exist  that  made 
you  so  miserable  a  year  ago,  even  perhaps  augmented  by 
time.  I  would  not  disturb  you  at  this  period,  when  so 
many  misfortunes  weigh  upon  you;  but  a  conversation  that 
I  had  with  my  uncle  previous  to  his  departure  renders 
some  explanation  necessary  before  we  meet. 

"  Explanation  !  you  may  possibly  say ;  what  can  Eliza- 
beth have  to  explain  ?  If  you  really  say  this,  my  questions 
are  answered,  and  all  my  doubts  satisfied.  But  you  are 
distant  from  me,  and  it  is  possible  that  you  may  dread,  and 
yet  be  pleased  with  this  explanation  ;  and,  in  a  probability 
of  this  being  the  case,  I  dare  not  any  longer  postpone  writ- 
ing what,  during  your  absence,  I  have  often  wished  to  ex- 
press to  you,  but  have  never  had  the  courage  to  begin. 

"  You  well  know,  Victor,  that  our  union  had  been  the 
favourite  plan  of  your  parents  ever  since  our  infancy.  We 
were  told  this  when  young,  and  taught  to  look  forward  to 
it  as  an  event  that  would  certainly  take  place.  We  were 
affectionate  playfellows  during  childhood,  and,  I  believe, 
dear  and  valued  friends  to  one  another  as  we  grew  older. 
But  as  brother  and  sister  often  entertain  a  lively  affection 
towards  each  other,  without  desiring  a  more  intimate  union, 
may  not  such  also  be  our  case  ?  Tell  me,  dearest  Victor. 
Answer  me,  I  conjure  you,  by  our  mutual  happiness,  with 
simple  truth  —  Do  you  not  love  another  ? 

f{  You  have  travelled ;  you  have  spent  several  years  of 
your  life  at  Ingolstadt ;  and  I  confess  to  you,  my  friend, 
that  when  I  saw  you  last  autumn  so  unhappy,  flying  to 
M  4 


168  FRANKENSTEIN;  OB, 

solitude,,  from  the  society  of  every  creature,  I  could  not 
help  supposing  that  you  might  regret  our  connection,  and 
believe  yourself  hound  in  honour  to  fulfil  the  wishes  of 
you  parents,  although  they  opposed  themselves  to  your 
inclinations.  But  this  is  false  reasoning.  I  confess  to  you, 
my  friend,  that  I  love  you,  and  that  in  my  airy  dreams  of 
futurity  you  have  been  my  constant  friend  and  companion. 
But  it  is  your  happiness  I  desire  as  well  as  my  own,  when 
I  declare  to  you,  that  our  marriage  would  render  me  eternally 
miserable,  unless  it  were  the  dictate  of  your  own  free  choice. 
Even  now  I  weep  to  think,  that,  borne  down  as  you  are  by 
the  cruellest  misfortunes,  you  may  stifle,  by  the  word  honour, 
all  hope  of  that  love  and  happiness  which  would  alone  re- 
store you  to  yourself.  I,  who  have  so  disinterested  an  affec- 
tion for  you,  may  increase  your  miseries  tenfold,  by  being  an 
obstacle  to  your  wishes.  Ah  !  Victor,  be  assured  that  your 
cousin  and  playmate  has  too  sincere  a  love  for  you  not  to 
be  made  miserable  by  this  supposition.  Be  happy,  my 
friend ;  and  if  you  obey  me  in  this  one  request,  remain 
satisfied  that  nothing  on  earth  will  have  the  power  to  inter- 
rupt my  tranquillity. 

"  Do  not  let  this  letter  disturb  you ;  do  not  answer  to- 
morrow, or  the  next  day,  or  even  until  you  come,  if  it 
will  give  you  pain.  My  uncle  will  send  me  news  of  your 
health ;  and  if  I  see  but  one  smile  on  your  lips  when  we 
meet,  occasioned  by  this  or  any  other  exertion  of  mine,  I 
shall  need  no  other  happiness. 

"  ELIZABETH  LAVENZA. 

"  Geneva,  May  18th,  17 — ." 

This  letter  revived  in  my  memory  what  I  had  before  for- 
gotten, the  threat  of  the  fiend —  "  I  will  be  with  you  on  your 
wedding  night!"  Such  was  my  sentence,  and  on  that  night 
would  the  daemon  employ  every  art  to  destroy  me,  and  tear 
me  from  the  glimpse  of  happiness  which  promised  partly  to 
console  my  sufferings.  On  that  night  he  had  determined  to 
consummate  his  crimes  by  my  death.  Well,  be  it  so;  a 
deadly  struggle  would  then  assuredly  take  place,  in  which  if 
he  were  victorious  I  should  be  at  peace,  and  his  power  over 
me  be  at  an  end.  If  he  were  vanquished,  I  should  be  a 
free  man.  Alas  !  what  freedom  ?  such  as  the  peasant  enjoys 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  169 

t 

when  his  family  have  been  massacred  before  his  eyes,  his 
cottage  burnt,  his  lands  laid  waste,  and  he  is  turned  adrift, 
homeless,  penniless,  and  alone,  but  free.  Such  would  be 
my  liberty,  except  that  in  my  Elizabeth  I  possessed  a 
treasure ;  alas  !  balanced  by  those  horrors  of  remorse  and 
guilt,  which  would  pursue  me  until  death. 

Sweet  and  beloved  Elizabeth  !  I  read  and  re-read  her 
letter,  and  some  softened  feelings  stole  into  my  heart,  and 
dared  to  whisper  paradisiacal  dreams  of  love  and  joy ;  but 
the  apple  was  already  eaten,  and  the  angel's  arm  bared  to 
drive  me  from  all  hope.  Yet  I  would  die  to  make  her 
happy.  If  the  monster  executed  his  threat,  death  was  in- 
evitable ;  yet,  again,  I  considered  whether  my  marriage 
would  hasten  my  fate.  My  destruction  might  indeed  arrive 
a  few  months  sooner ;  but  if  my  torturer  should  suspect 
that  I  postponed  it,  influenced  by  his  menaces,  he  would 
surely  find  other,  and  perhaps  more  dreadful  means  of 
revenge.  He  had  vowed  to  be  with  me  on  my  wedding-night, 
yet  he  did  not  consider  that  threat  as  binding  him  to  peace 
in  the  mean  time ;  for,  as  if  to  show  me  that  he  was  not  yet 
satiated  with  blood,  he  had  murdered  Clerval  immediately 
after  the  enunciation  of  his  threats.  I  resolved,  therefore,  that 
if  my  immediate  union  with  my  cousin  would  conduce  either 
to  hers  or  my  father's  happiness,  my  adversary's  designs 
against  my  life  should  not  retard  it  a  single  hour. 

In  this  state  of  mind  I  wrote  to  Elizabeth.  My  letter 
was  calm  and  affectionate.  "  I  fear,  my  beloved  girl,"  I 
said,  "  little  happiness  remains  for  us  on  earth ;  yet  all  that 
I  may  one  day  enjoy  is  centred  in  you.  Chase  away  your 
idle  fears ;  to  you  alone  do  I  consecrate  my  life,  and  my 
endeavours  for  contentment.  I  have  one  secret,  Elizabeth, 
a  dreadful  one ;  when  revealed  to  you,  it  will  chill  your 
frame  with  horror,  and  then,  far  from  being  surprised  at  my 
misery,  you  will  only  wonder  that  I  survive  what  I  have 
endured.  I  will  confide  this  tale  of  misery  and  terror  to 
you  the  day  after  our  marriage  shall  take  place ;  for,  my 
sweet  cousin,  there  must  be  perfect  confidence  between  us. 
But  until  then,  1  conjure  you,  do  not  mention  or  allude  to 
it.  This  I  most  earnestly  entreat,  and  I  know  you  will 
comply." 


170  FRANKENSTEIN;  OR, 

In  about  a  week  after  the  arrival  of  Elizabeth's  letter,  we 
returned  to  Geneva.  The  sweet  girl  welcomed  me  with 
warm  affection ;  yet  tears  were  in  her  eyes,  as  she  beheld 
my  emaciated  frame  and  feverish  cheeks.  I  saw  a  change 
in  her  also.  She  was  thinner,  and  had  lost  much  of  that 
heavenly  vivacity  that  had  before  charmed  me;  but  her 
gentleness,  and  soft  looks  of  compassion,  made  her  a  more  fit 
companion  for  one  blasted  and  miserable  as  I  was. 

The  tranquillity  which  I  now  enjoyed  did  not  endure. 
Memory  brought  madness  with  it ;  and  when  I  thought  of 
what  had  passed,  a  real  insanity  possessed  me ;  sometimes 
I  was  furious,  and  burnt  with  rage ;  sometimes  low  and 
despondent.  I  neither  spoke,  nor  looked  at  any  one,  but 
sat  motionless,  bewildered  by  the  multitude  of  miseries  that 
overcame  me. 

Elizabeth  alone  had  the  power  to  draw  me  from  these 
fits ;  her  gentle  voice  would  soothe  me  when  transported  by 
passion,  and  inspire  me  with  human  feelings  when  sunk  in 
torpor.  She  wept  with  me,  and  for  me.  When  reason 
returned,  she  would  remonstrate,  and  endeavour  to  inspire 
me  with  resignation.  Ah  !  it  is  well  for  the  unfortunate  to 
be  resigned,  but  for  the  guilty  there  is  no  peace.  The 
agonies  of  remorse  poison  the  luxury  there  is  otherwise 
sometimes  found  in  indulging  the  excess  of  grief. 

Soon  after  my  arrival,  my  father  spoke  of  my  immediate 
marriage  with  Elizabeth.  I  remained  silent. 

(C  Have  you,  then,  some  other  attachment?" 

"  None  on  earth.  I  love  Elizabeth,  and  look  forward  to 
our  union  with  delight.  Let  the  day  therefore  be  fixed ; 
and  on  it  1  will  consecrate  myself,  in  life  or  death,  to  the 
happiness  of  my  cousin." 

<f  My  dear  Victor,  do  not  speak  thus.  Heavy  misfortunes 
have  befallen  us ;  but  let  us  only  cling  closer  to  what  re- 
mains, and  transfer  our  love  for  those  whom  we  have  lost,  to 
those  who  yet  live.  Our  circle  will  be  small,  but  bound 
close  by  the  ties  of  affection  and  mutual  misfortune.  And 
when  time  shall  have  softened  your  despair,  new  and  dear 
objects  of  care  will  be  born  to  replace  those  of  whom  we 
have  been  so  cruelly  deprived." 

Such  were  the  lessons  of  my  father.     But  to  me  the 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  1?1 

remembrance  of  the  threat  returned :  nor  can  you  wonder, 
that,  omnipotent  as  the  fiend  had  yet  been  in  his  deeds  of 
blood,  I  should  almost  regard  him  as  invincible ;  and  that 
when  he  had  pronounced  the  words,  "  I  shall  be  with  you 
on  your  wedding-night,"  I  should  regard  the  threatened 
fate  as  unavoidable.  But  death  was  no  evil  to  me,  if  the 
loss  of  Elizabeth  were  balanced  with  it;  and  I  there- 
fore, with  a  contented  and  even  cheerful  countenance, 
agreed  with  my  father,  that  if  my  cousin  would  consent, 
the  ceremony  should  take  place  in  ten  days,  and  thus  put, 
as  I  imagined,  the  seal  to  my  fate. 

Great  God  !  if  for  one  instant  I  had  thought  what  might 
be  the  hellish  intention  of  my  fiendish  adversary,  I  would 
rather  have  banished  myself  for  ever  from  my  native 
country,  and  wandered  a  friendless  outcast  over  the  earth, 
than  have  consented  to  this  miserable  marriage.  But,  as  if 
possessed  of  magic  powers,  the  monster  had  blinded  me  to 
his  real  intentions  ;  and  when  I  thought  that  I  had  prepared 
only  my  own  death,  I  hastened  that  of  a  far  dearer  victim. 

As  the  period  fixed  for  our  marriage  drew  nearer,  whe- 
ther from  cowardice  or  a  prophetic  feeling,  I  felt  my  heart 
sink  within  me.  But  I  concealed  my  feelings  by  an  ap- 
pearance of  hilarity,  that  brought  smiles  and  joy  to  the 
countenance  of  my  father,  but  hardly  deceived  the  ever- 
watchful  and  nicer  eye  of  Elizabeth.  She  looked  forward 
to  our  union  with  placid  contentment,  not  unmingled  with 
a  little  fear,  which  past  misfortunes  had  impressed,  that 
what  now  appeared  certain  and  tangible  happiness,  might 
soon  dissipate  into  an  airy  dream,  and  leave  no  trace  but 
deep  and  everlasting  regret. 

Preparations  were  made  for  the  event ;  congratulatory 
visits  were  received ;  and  all  wore  a  smiling  appearance.  I 
shut  up,  as  well  as  I  could,  in  my  own  heart  the  anxiety 
that  preyed  there,  and  entered  with  seeming  earnestness  into 
the  plans  of  my  father,  although  they  might  only  serve  as 
the  decorations  of  my  tragedy.  Through  my  father's  ex- 
ertions, a  part  of  the  inheritance  of  Elizabeth  had  been 
restored  to  her  by  the  Austrian  government.  A  small 
possession  on  the  shores  of  Como  belonged  to  her.  It  was 
agreed  that,  immediately  after  our  union,  we  should  proceed 


172  FRANKENSTEIN;  OR, 

to  Villa  Lavenza,  and  spend  our  first  days  of  happiness  beside 
the  beautiful  lake  near  which  it  stood. 

In  the  mean  time  I  took  every  precaution  to  defend  my 
person,,  in  case  the  fiend  should  openly  attack  me.  I  car- 
ried pistols  and  a  dagger  constantly  about  me,  and  was  ever 
on  the  watch  to  prevent  artifice;  and  by  these  means 
gained  a  greater  degree  of  tranquillity.  Indeed,  as  the 
period  approached,  the  threat  appeared  more  as  a  delusion, 
not  to  be  regarded  as  worthy  to  disturb  my  peace,  while 
the  happiness  I  hoped  for  in  my  marriage  wore  a  greater 
appearance  of  certainty,  as  the  day  fixed  for  its  solemnisa- 
tion drew  nearer,  and  I  heard  it  continually  spoken  of  as 
an  occurrence  which  no  accident  could  possibly  prevent. 

Elizabeth  seemed  happy ;  my  tranquil  demeanour  pon- 
tributed  greatly  to  calm  her  mind.  But  on  the  day  that 
was  to  fulfil  my  wishes  and  my  destiny,  she  was  melan- 
choly, and  a  presentiment  of  evil  pervaded  her ;  and  per- 
haps also  she  thought  of  the  dreadful  secret  which  I  had 
promised  to  reveal  to  her  on  the  following  day.  My  father 
was  in  the  mean  time  overjoyed,  and,  in  the  bustle  of  pre- 
paration, only  recognised  in  the  melancholy  of  his  niece  the 
diffidence  of  a  bride. 

After  the  ceremony  was  performed,  a  large  party  assem- 
bled at  my  father's ;  but  it  was  agreed  that  Elizabeth  and 
I  should  commence  our  journey  by  water,  sleeping  that 
night  at  Evian,  and  continuing  our  voyage  on  the  following 
day.  The  day  was  fair,  the  wind  favourable,  all  smiled  on 
our  nuptial  embarkation. 

Those  were  the  last  moments  of  my  life  during  which  I 
enjoyed  the  feeling  of  happiness.  We  passed  rapidly  along : 
the  sun  was  hot,  but  we  were  sheltered  from  its  rays  by  a 
kind  of  canopy,  while  we  enjoyed  the  beauty  of  the  scene, 
sometimes  on  one  side  of  the  lake,  where  we  saw  Mont 
Saleve,  the  pleasant  banks  of  Montalegre,  and  at  a  distance, 
surmounting  all,  the  beautiful  Mont  Blanc,  and  the  assem- 
blage of  snowy  mountains  that  in  vain  endeavour  to  emu- 
late her ;  sometimes  coasting  the  opposite  banks,  we  saw 
the  mighty  Jura  opposing  its  dark  side  to  the  ambition  that 
would  quit  its  native  country,  and  an  almost  insurmountable 
barrier  to  the  invader  who  should  wish  to  enslave  it. 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  173 

I  took  the  hand  of  Elizabeth :  "  You  are  sorrowful, 
my  love.  Ah  !  if  you  knew  what  I  have  suffered,  and 
what  I  may  yet  endure,  you  would  endeavour  to  let  me 
taste  the  quiet  and  freedom  from  despair,  that  this  one  day 
at  least  permits  me  to  enjoy." 

"  Be  happy,  my  dear  Victor,"  replied  Elizabeth  ;  (i  there 
is,  I  hope,  nothing  to  distress  you ;  and  be  assured  that  if 
a  lively  joy  is  not  painted  in  my  face,  my  heart  is  con- 
tented. Something  whispers  to  me  not  to  depend  too  much 
on  the  prospect  that  is  opened  before  us ;  but  I  will  not 
listen  to  such  a  sinister  voice.  Observe  how  fast  we  move 
along,  and  how  the  clouds,  which  sometimes  obscure  and 
sometimes  rise  above  the  dome  of  Mont  Blanc,  render  this 
scene  of  beauty  still  more  interesting.  Look  also  at  the 
innumerable  fish  that  are  swimming  in  the  clear  waters, 
where  we  can  distinguish  every  pebble  that  lies  at  the  bot- 
tom. What  a  divine  day  !  how  happy  and  serene  all  nature 
appears  ! " 

Thus  Elizabeth  endeavoured  to  divert  her  thoughts  and 
mine  from  all  reflection  upon  melancholy  subjects.  But  her 
temper  was  fluctuating ;  joy  for  a  few  instants  shone  in 
her  eyes,  but  it  continually  gave  place  to  distraction  and 
reverie. 

The  sun  sunk  lower  in  the  heavens  ;  we  passed  the  river 
Drance,  and  observed  its  path  through  the  chasms  of  the 
higher,  and  the  glens  of  the  lower  hills.  The  Alps  here 
come  closer  to  the  lake,  and  we  approached  the  amphi- 
theatre of  mountains  which  forms  its  eastern  boundary. 
The  spire  of  Evian  shone  under  the  woods  that  surrounded 
it,  and  the  range  of  mountain  above  mountain  by  which  it 
was  overhung. 

The  wind,  which  had  hitherto  carried  us  along  with 
amazing  rapidity,  sunk  at  sunset  to  a  light  breeze ;  the  soft 
air  just  ruffled  the  water,  and  caused  a  pleasant  motion 
among  the  trees  as  we  approached  the  shore,  from  which  it 
wafted  the  most  delightful  scent  of  flowers  and  hay.  The 
sun  sunk  beneath  the  horizon  as  we  landed ;  and  as  I 
touched  the  shore,  I  felt  those  cares  and  fears  revive,  which 
soon  were  to  clasp  me,  and  cling  to  me  for  ever. 


174  FRANKENSTEIN  j    OR, 


CHAPTER  XXIII. 

IT  was  eight  o'clock  when  we  landed ;  we  walked  for  a 
short  time  on  the  shore,  enjoying  the  transitory  light,  and 
then  retired  to  the  inn,  and  contemplated  the  lovely  scene  of 
waters,  woods,  and  mountains,  obscured  in  darkness,  yet  still 
displaying  their  black  outlines. 

The  wind,  which  had  fallen  in  the  south,  now  rose  with 
great  violence  in  the  west.  The  moon  had  reached  her 
summit  in  the  heavens,  and  was  beginning  to  descend ;  the 
clouds  swept  across  it  swifter  than  the  flight  of  the  vulture, 
and  dimmed  her  rays,  while  the  lake  reflected  the  scene  of 
the  busy  heavens,  rendered  still  busier  by  the  restless  waves 
that  were  beginning  to  rise.  Suddenly  a  heavy  storm  of 
rain  descended. 

I  had  been  calm  during  the  day ;  but  so  soon  as  night 
obscured  the  shapes  of  objects,  a  thousand  fears  arose  in  my 
mind.  I  was  anxious  and  watchful,  while  my  right  hand 
grasped  a  pistol  which  was  hidden  in  my  bosom ;  every 
sound  terrified  me ;  but  I  resolved  that  I  would  sell  my 
life  dearly,  and  not  shrink  from  the  conflict  until  my  own 
life,  or  that  of  my  adversary,  was  extinguished. 

Elizabeth  observed  my  agitation  for  some  time  in  timid 
and  fearful  silence ;  but  there  was  something  in  my  glance 
•which  communicated  terror  to  her,  and  trembling  she  asked, 
"  What  is  it  that  agitates  you,  my  dear  Victor  ?  What  is 
it  you  fear  ?  " 

"  Oh  !  peace,  peace,  my  love,"  replied  I ;  "  this  night, 
and  all  will  be  safe :  but  this  night  is  dreadful,  very 
dreadful." 

I  passed  an  hour  in  this  state  of  mind,  when  suddenly  I 
reflected  how  fearful  the  combat  which  I  momentarily  ex- 
pected would  be  to  my  wife,  and  I  earnestly  entreated  her 
to  retire,  resolving  not  to  join  her  until  I  had  obtained 
some  knowledge  as  to  the  situation  of  my  enemy. 

She  left  me,  and  I  continued  some  time  walking  up  and 
down  the  passages  of  the  house,  and  inspecting  every  corner 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  175 

that  might  afford  a  retreat  to  my  adversary.  But  I  dis- 
covered no  trace  of  him,  and  was  beginning  to  conjecture 
that  some  fortunate  chance  had  intervened  to  prevent  the 
execution  of  his  menaces ;  when  suddenly  I  heard  a  shrill 
and  dreadful  scream.  It  came  from  the  room  into  which 
Elizabeth  had  retired.  As  I  heard  it,  the  whole  truth 
rushed  into  my  mind,,  my  arms  dropped,  the  motion  of 
every  muscle  and  fibre  was  suspended  ;  I  could  feel  the 
blood  trickling  in  my  veins,  and  tingling  in  the  extremities 
of  my  limbs.  This  state  lasted  but  for  an  instant ;  the 
scream  was  repeated,  and  I  rushed  into  the  room. 

Great  God  !  why  did  I  not  then  expire  !  Why  am  I 
here  to  relate  the  destruction  of  the  best  hope,,  and  the 
purest  creature  of  earth  ?  She  was  there,  lifeless  and  in- 
animate, thrown  across  the  bed,  her  head  hanging  down, 
and  her  pale  and  distorted  features  half  covered  by  her  hair. 
Every  where  I  turn  I  see  the  same  figure — her  bloodless 
arms  and  relaxed  form  flung  by  the  murderer  on  its  bridal 
bier.  Could  I  behold  this,  and  live  ?  Alas  !  life  is  obsti- 
nate, and  clings  closest  where  it  is  most  hated.  For  a  mo- 
ment only  did  I  lose  recollection  j  I  fell  senseless  on  the 
ground. 

When  I  recovered,  I  found  myself  surrounded  by  the 
people  of  the  inn  j  their  countenances  expressed  a  breath- 
less terror :  but  the  horror  of  others  appeared  only  as  a 
mockery,  a  shadow  of  the  feelings  that  oppressed  me.  I 
escaped  from  them  to  the  room  where  lay  the  body  of  Eliza- 
beth, my  love,  my  wife,  so  lately  living,  so  dear,  so  worthy. 
She  had  been  moved  from  the  posture  in  which  I  had  first 
beheld  her ;  and  now,  as  she  lay,  her  head  upon  her  arm, 
and  a  handkerchief  thrown  across  her  face  and  neck,  I 
might  have  supposed  her  asleep.  I  rushed  towards  her, 
and  embraced  her  with  ardour  ;  but  the  deadly  languor  and 
coldness  of  the  limbs  told  me,  that  what  I  now  held  in  my 
arms  had  ceased  to  be  the  Elizabeth  whom  I  had  loved  and 
cherished.  The  murderous  mark  of  the  fiend's  grasp  was 
on  her  neck,  and  the  breath  had  ceased  to  issue  from  her 
lips. 

While  I  still  hung  over  her  in  the  agony  of  despair,  I 
happened  to  look  up.  The  windows  of  the  room  had  before 


176  FRANKENSTEIN;  OR, 

been  darkened.,  and  I  felt  a  kind  of  panic  on  seeing  the 
pale  yellow  light  of  the  moon  illuminate  the  chamber.  The 
shutters  had  been  thrown  back  ;  and,  with  a  sensation  of 
horror  not  to  be  described,  I  saw  at  the  open  window  a 
figure  the  most  hideous  and  abhorred.  A  grin  was  on  the 
face  of  the  monster ;  he  seemed  to  jeer,  as  with  his  fiendish 
finger  he  pointed  towards  the  corpse  of  my  wife.  I  rushed 
towards  the  window,  and  drawing  a  pistol  from  my  bosom, 
fired ;  but  he  eluded  me,  leaped  from  his  station,  and,  run- 
ning with  the  swiftness  of  lightning,  plunged  into  the 
lake. 

The  report  of  the  pistol  brought  a  crowd  into  the  room. 
I  pointed  to  the  spot  where  he  had  disappeared,  and  we 
followed  the  track  with  boats ;  nets  were  cast,  but  in  vain. 
After  passing  several  hours,  we  returned  hopeless,  most  of 
my  companions  believing  it  to  have  been  a  form  conjured 
up  by  my  fancy.  After  having  landed,  they  proceeded  to 
search  the  country,  parties  going  in  different  directions 
among  the  woods  and  vines. 

I  attempted  to  accompany  them,  and  proceeded  a  short 
distance  from  the  house  ;  but  my  head  whirled  round,  my 
steps  were  like  those  of  a  drunken  man,  I  fell  at  last  in  a 
state  of  utter  exhaustion  ;  a  film  covered  my  eyes,  and  my 
skin  was  parched  with  the  heat  of  fever.  In  this  state  I 
was  carried  back,  and  placed  on  a  bed,  hardly  conscious  of 
what  had  happened ;  my  eyes  wandered  round  the  room, 
as  if  to  seek  something  that  I  had  lost. 

After  an  interval,  I  arose,  and,  as  if  by  instinct,  crawled 
into  the  room  where  the  corpse  of  my  beloved  lay.  There 
were  women  weeping  around — I  hung  over  it,  and  joined 
my  sad  tears  to  theirs  —  all  this  time  no  distinct  idea  pre- 
sented itself  to  my  mind;  but  my  thoughts  rambled  to 
various  subjects,  reflecting  confusedly  on  my  misfortunes, 
and  their  cause.  I  was  bewildered  in  a  cloud  of  wonder 
and  horror.  The  death  of  William,  the  execution  of  Jus- 
tine, the  murder  of  Clerval,  and  lastly  of  my  wife ;  even  at 
that  moment  I  knew  not  that  my  only  remaining  friends 
were  safe  from  the  malignity  of  the  fiend ;  my  father  even 
now  might  be  writhing  under  his  grasp,  and  Ernest  might 
be  dead  at  his  feet.  This  idea  made  me  shudder,  and  re- 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEU&.  177 

called  me  to  action.     I  started  up,  and  resolved  to  return 
to  Geneva  with  all  possible  speed. 

There  were  no  horses  to  be  procured,,  and  I  must  return 
by  the  lake  j  but  the  wind  was  unfavourable,  and  the  rain 
fell  in  torrents.  However,  it  was  hardly  morning,  and  I 
might  reasonably  hope  to  arrive  by  night.  I  hired  men  to 
row,  and  took  an  oar  myself;  for  I  had  always  experienced 
relief  from  mental  torment  in  bodily  exercise.  But  the 
overflowing  misery  I  now  felt,  and  the  excess  of  agitation 
that  I  endured,  rendered  me  incapable  of  any  exertion.  I 
threw  down  the  oar ;  and  leaning  my  head  upon  my  hands, 
gave  way  to  every  gloomy  idea  that  arose.  If  I  looked  up, 
I  saw  the  scenes  which  were  familiar  to  me  in  my  happier 
time,  and  which  I  had  contemplated  but  the  day  before  in 
the  company  of  her  who  was  now  but  a  shadow  and  a  re- 
collection. Tears  streamed  from  my  eyes.  The  rain  had 
ceased  for  a  moment,  and  I  saw  the  fish  play  in  the  waters 
as  they  had  done  a  few  hours  before ;  they  had  then  been 
observed  by  Elizabeth.  Nothing  is  so  painful  to  the  human 
mind  as  a  great  and  sudden  change.  The  sun  might  shine, 
or  the  clouds  might  lower :  but  nothing  could  appear  to  me 
as  it  had  clone  the  day  before.  A  fiend  had  snatched  from 
me  every  hope  of  future  happiness :  no  creature  had  ever 
been  so  miserable  as  I  was ;  so  frightful  an  event  is  single 
in  the  history  of  man. 

But  why  should  I  dwell  upon  the  incidents  that  fol- 
lowed this  last  overwhelming  event?  Mine  has  been  a 
tale  of  horrors  j  I  have  reached  their  acme,  and  what  I 
must  now  relate  can  but  be  tedious  to  you.  Know  that, 
one  by  one,  my  friends  were  snatched  away ;  I  was  left 
desolate.  My  own  strength  is  exhausted  ;  and  I  must  tell, 
in  a  few  words,  what  remains  of  my  hideous  narration. 

I  arrived  at  Geneva.  My  father  and  Ernest  yet  lived  ; 
but  the  former  sunk  under  the  tidings  that  I  bore.  I  see 
him  now,  excellent  and  venerable  old  man  !  his  eyes  wan- 
dered in  vacancy,  for  they  had  lost  their  charm  and  their 
delight  — his  Elizabeth,  his  more  than  daughter,  whom  he 
doated  on  with  all  that  affection  which  a  man  feels,  who  in 
the  decline  of  life,  having  few  affections,  clings  more  ear- 
nestly to  those  that  remain.  Cursed,  cursed  be  the  fiend 

N 


178  FRANKENSTEIN  ;    OR, 

that  brought  misery  on  his  grey  hairs,  and  doomed  him  to 
waste  in  wretchedness  !  He  could  not  live  under  the  hor- 
rors that  were  accumulated  around  him ;  the  springs  of 
existence  suddenly  gave  way :  he  was  unable  to  rise  from 
his  bed,  and  in  a  few  days  he  died  in  my  arms. 

What  then  became  of  me  ?  I  know  not ;  I  lost  sensa- 
tion, and  chains  and  darkness  were  the  only  objects  that 
pressed  upon  me.  Sometimes,  indeed,  I  dreamt  that  I 
wandered  in  flowery  meadows  and  pleasant  vales  with  the 
friends  of  my  youth ;  but  I  awoke,  and  found  myself  in  a 
dungeon.  Melancholy  followed,  but  by  degrees  I  gained  a 
clear  conception  of  my  miseries  and  situation,  and  was  then 
released  from  my  prison.  For  they  had  called  me  mad  ;  and 
during  many  months,  as  I  understood,  a  solitary  cell  had 
been  my  habitation. 

Liberty,  however,  had  been  an  useless  gift  to  me,  had  I 
not,  as  I  awakened  to  reason,  at  the  same  time  awakened  to 
revenge.  As  the  memory  of  past  misfortunes  pressed  upon 
me,  I  began  to  reflect  on  their  cause  —  the  monster  whom 
I  had  created,  the  miserable  daemon  whom  I  had  sent  abroad 
into  the  world  for  my  destruction.  I  was  possessed  by  a 
maddening  rage  when  I  thought  of  him,  and  desired 
and  ardently  prayed  that  I  might  have  him  within  my 
grasp  to  wreak  a  great  and  signal  revenge  on  his  cursed 
head. 

Nor  did  my  hate  long  confine  itself  to  useless  wishes ;  I 
began  to  reflect  on  the  best  means  of  securing  him ;  and 
for  this  purpose,  about  a  month  after  my  release,  I  re- 
paired to  a  criminal  judge  in  the  town,  and  told  him  that 
I  had  an  accusation  to  make ;  that  I  knew  the  destroyer  of 
my  family ;  and  that  I  required  him  to  exert  his  whole 
authority  for  the  apprehension  of  the  murderer. 

The  magistrate  listened  to  me  with  attention  and  kind- 
ness :  —  "  Be  assured,  sir,"  said  he,  <e  no  pains  or  exertions 
on  my  part  shall  be  spared  to  discover  the  villain." 

((  I  thank  you,"  replied  I ;  "  listen,  therefore,  to  the 
deposition  that  I  have  to  make.  It  is  indeed  a  tale  so 
strange,  that  I  should  fear  you  would  not  credit  it,  were 
there  not  something  in  truth  which,  however  wonderful, 
forces  conviction.  The  story  is  too  connected  to  be  mis- 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  179 

taken  for  a  dream,  and  I  have  no  motive  for  falsehood." 
My  manner,  as  I  thus  addressed  him,  was  impressive,  but 
calm ;  I  had  formed  in  my  own  heart  a  resolution  to  pur- 
sue my  destroyer  to  death  ;  and  this  purpose  quieted  my 
agony,  and  for  an  interval  reconciled  me  to  life.  I  now 
related  my  history,  briefly,  but  with  firmness  and  precision, 
marking  the  dates  with  accuracy,  and  never  deviating  into 
invective  or  exclamation. 

The  magistrate  appeared  at  first  perfectly  incredulous, 
but  as  1  continued  he  became  more  attentive  and  inter- 
ested ;  I  saw  him  sometimes  shudder  with  horror,  at  others 
a  lively  surprise,  unmingled  with  disbelief,  was  painted  on 
his  countenance. 

When  I  had  concluded  my  narration,  I  said,  "  This  is 
the  being  whom  I  accuse,  and  for  whose  seizure  and  punish- 
ment I  call  upon  you  to  exert  your  whole  power.  It  is 
your  duty  as  a  magistrate,  and  I  believe  and  hope  that  your 
feelings  as  a  man  will  not  revolt  from  the  execution  of  those 
functions  on  this  occasion." 

This  address  caused  a  considerable  change  in  the  physi- 
ognomy of  my  own  auditor.  He  Tiad  heard  my  story  with 
that  half  kind  of  belief  that  is  given  to  a  tale  of  spirits  and 
supernatural  events ;  but  when  he  was  called  upon  to  act 
officially  in  consequence,  the  whole  tide  of  his  incredulity 
returned.  He,  however,  answered  mildly,  <e  I  would  will- 
ingly afford  you  every  aid  in  your  pursuit ;  but  the  crea- 
ture of  whom  you  speak  appears  to  have  powers  which 
would  put  all  my  exertions  to  defiance.  Who  can  fol- 
low an  animal  which  can  traverse  the  sea  of  ice,  and  in- 
habit caves  and  dens  where  no  man  would  venture  to 
intrude  ?  Besides,  some  months  have  elapsed  since  the 
commission  of  his  crimes,  and  no  one  can  conjecture  to 
what  place  he  has  wandered,  or  what  region  he  may  now 
inhabit." 

"  I  do  not  doubt  that  he  hovers  near  the  spot  which 
I  inhabit ;  and  if  he  has  indeed  taken  refuge  in  the 
Alps,  he  may  be  hunted  like  the  chamois,  and  destroyed  as 
a  beast  of  prey.  But  I  perceive  your  thoughts :  you  do  not 
credit  my  narrative,  and  do  not  intend  to  pursue  my  enemy 
with  the  punishment  which  is  his  desert." 
N  2 


180  FRANKENSTEIN;  OR, 

As  I  spoke,  rage  sparkled  in  my  eyes ;  the  magistrate 
was  intimidated  :  —  "  You  are  mistaken/'  said  he,  "  I  will 
exert  myself;  and  if  it  is  in  my  power  to  seize  the  mon- 
ster,, be  assured  that  he  shall  suffer  punishment  propor- 
tionate to  his  crimes.  But  I  fear,  from  what  you  have 
yourself  described  to  be  his  properties,  that  this  will  prove 
impracticable ;  and  thus,  while  every  proper  measure  is 
pursued,  you  should  make  up  your  mind  to  disappoint- 
ment." 

"  That  cannot  be ;  but  all  that  I  can  say  will  be  of  little 
avail.  My  revenge  is  of  no  moment  to  you  ;  yet,  while  I 
allow  it  to  be  a  vice,  I  confess  that  it  is  the  devouring  and 
only  passion  of  my  soul.  My  rage  is  unspeakable,  when  I 
reflect  that  the  murderer,  whom  I  have  turned  loose  upon 
society,  still  exists.  You  refuse  my  just  demand  :  I  have 
but  one  resource  ;  and  I  devote  myself,  either  in  my  life 
or  death,  to  his  destruction." 

I  trembled  with  excess  of  agitation  as  I  said  this ;  there 
was  a  frenzy  in  'my  manner,  and  something,  I  doubt  not, 
of  that  haughty  fierceness  which  the  martyrs  of  old  are 
said  to  have  possessed.  But  to  a  Genevan  magistrate, 
whose  mind  was  occupied  by  far  other  ideas  than  those  of 
devotion  and  heroism,  this  elevation  of  mind  had  much  the 
appearance  of  madness.  He  endeavoured  to  soothe  me  as 
a  nurse  does  a  child,  and  reverted  to  my  tale  as  the  effects 
of  delirium. 

"  Man,"  I  cried,  "  how  ignorant  art  thou  in  thy  pride 
of  wisdom  !  Cease ;  you  know  not  what  it  is  you  say." 

I  broke  from  the  house  angry  and  disturbed,  and  retired 
to  meditate  on  some  other  mode  of  action. 


CHAPTER  XXIV. 

MY  present  situation  was  one  in  which  all  voluntary  thought 
was  swallowed  up  and  lost.  I  was  hurried  away  by  fury  ; 
revenge  alone  endowed  me  with  strength  and  composure ; 
it  moulded  my  feelings,  and  allowed  me  to  be  calculating 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  181 

and  calm,  at  periods  when  otherwise  delirium  or  death 
would  have  been  my  portion. 

My  first  resolution  was  to  quit  Geneva  for  ever ;  my 
country,  which,  when  I  was  happy  and  beloved,  was  dear 
to  me,  now,  in  my  adversity,  became  hateful.  I  provided 
myself  with  a  sum  of  money,  together  with  a  few  jewels 
which  had  belonged  to  my  mother,  and  departed. 

And  now  my  wanderings  began,  which  are  to  cease  but 
with  life.  I  have  traversed  a  vast  portion  of  the  earth,  and 
have  endured  all  the  hardships  which  travellers,  in  deserts 
and  barbarous  countries,  are  wont  to  meet.  How  I  have 
lived  I  hardly  know  ;  many  times  have  I  stretched  my 
failing  limbs  upon  the  sandy  plain,  and  prayed  for  death. 
But  revenge  kept  me  alive ;  I  dared  not  die,  and  leave  my 
adversary  in  being. 

When  I  quitted  Geneva,  my  first  labour  was  to  gain 
some  clue  by  which  I  might  trace  the  steps  of  my  fiendish 
enemy.  But  my  plan  was  unsettled;  and  I  wandered 
many  hours  round  the  confines  of  the  town,  uncertain  what 
path  I  should  pursue.  As  night  approached,  I  found  my- 
self at  the  entrance  of  the  cemetery  where  William,  Eliza- 
beth, and  my  father  reposed.  I  entered  it,  and  approached 
the  tomb  which  marked  their  graves.  Every  thing  was 
silent,  except  the  leaves  of  the  trees,  which  were  gently 
agitated  by  the  wind  ;  the  night  was  nearly  dark  ;  and  the 
scene  would  have  been  solemn  and  affecting  even  to  an 
uninterested  observer.  The  spirits  of  the  departed  seemed 
to  flit  around,  and  to  cast  a  shadow,  which  was  felt  but  not 
seen,  around  the  head  of  the  mourner. 

The  deep  grief  which  this  scene  had  at  first  excited 
quickly  gave  way  to  rage  and  despair.  They  were  dead, 
and  I  lived ;  their  murderer  also  lived,  and  to  destroy  him 
I  must  drag  out  my  weary  existence.  I  knelt  on  the  grass, 
and  kissed  the  earth,  and  with  quivering  lips  exclaimed, 
"  By  the  sacred  earth  on  which  I  kneel,  by  the  shades  that 
wander  near  me,  by  the  deep  and  eternal  grief  that  I  feel, 
I  swear ;  and  by  thee,  O  Night,  and  the  spirits  that  pre- 
side over  thee,  to  pursue  the  daemon,  who  caused  this  mi- 
sery, until  he  or  I  shall  perish  in  mortal  conflict.  For 
this  purpose  I  will  preserve  my  life  :  to  execute  this  dear 
N  3 


182 


FRANKENSTEIN;  OR, 


revenge,  will  I  again  behold  the  sun,  and  tread  the  green 
herbage  of  earth,  which  otherwise  should  vanish  from  my 
eyes  for  ever.  And  I  call  on  you,  spirits  of  the  dead ;  and 
on  you,  wandering  ministers  of  vengeance,  to  aid  and  con- 
duct me  in  my  work.  Let  the  cursed  and  hellish  monster 
drink  deep  of  agony;  let  him  feel  the  despair  that  now 
torments  me." 

I  had  begun  my  adjuration  with  solemnity,  and  an  awe 
which  almost  assured  me  that  the  shades  of  my  murdered 
friends  heard  and  approved  my  devotion  ;  but  the  furies 
possessed  me  as  I  concluded,  and  rage  choked  my  utter- 
ance. 

I  was  answered  through  the  stillness  of  night  by  a  loud 
and  fiendish  laugh.  It  rung  on  my  ears  long  and  heavily; 
the  mountains  re-echoed  it,  and  I  felt  as  if  all  hell  sur- 
rounded me  with  mockery  and  laughter.  Surely  in  that 
moment  I  should  have  been  possessed  by  frenzy,  and  have 
destroyed  my  miserable  existence,  but  that  my  vow  was 
heard,  and  that  I  was  reserved  for  vengeance.  The  laughter 
died  away ;  when  a  well-known  and  abhorred  voice,  ap- 
parently close  to  my  ear,  addressed  me  in  an  audible  whisper 
— "  I  am  satisfied :  miserable  wretch  !  you  have  deter- 
mined to  live,  and  I  am  satisfied." 

I  darted  towards  the  spot  from  which  the  sound  pro- 
ceeded ;  but  the  devil  eluded  my  grasp.  Suddenly  the  broad 
disk  of  the  moon  arose,  and  shone  full  upon  his  ghastly 
and  distorted  shape,  as  he  fled  with  more  than  mortal  speed. 

I  pursued  him ;  and  for  many  months  this  has  been  my 
task.  Guided  by  a  slight  clue,  I  followed  the  windings  of 
the  Rhone,  but  vainly.  The  blue  Mediterranean  appeared ; 
and,  by  a  strange  chance,  I  saw  the  fiend  enter  by  night, 
and  hide  himself  in  a  vessel  bound  for  the  Black  Sea.  I 
took  my  passage  in  the  same  ship ;  but  he  escaped,  I  know 
not  how. 

Amidst  the  wilds  of  Tarfcary  and  Russia,  although  he 
still  evaded  me,  I  have  ever  followed  in  his  track.  Some- 
times the  peasants,  scared  by  this  horrid  apparition,  in- 
formed me  of  his  path ;  sometimes  he  himself,  who  feared 
that  if  I  lost  all  trace  of  him,  I  should  despair  and  die,  left 
some  mark  to  guide  me.  The  snows  descended  on  my 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  183 

head,  and  I  saw  the  print  of  his  huge  step  on  the  white 
plain.  To  you  first  entering  on  life,  to  whom  care  is  new, 
and  agony  unknown,  how  can  you  understand  what  I  have 
felt,  and  still  feel?  Cold,  want,  and  fatigue,  were  the 
least  pains  which  I  was  destined  to  endure;  I  was  cursed 
hy  some  devil,  and  carried  about  with  me  my  eternal  hell ; 
yet  still  a  spirit  of  good  followed  and  directed  my  steps  ; 
and,  when  I  most  murmured,  would  suddenly  extricate  me 
from  seemingly  insurmountable  difficulties.  Sometimes, 
when  nature,  overcome  hy  hunger,  sunk  under  the  ex- 
haustion, a  repast  was  prepared  for  me  in  the  desert,  that 
restored  and  inspirited  me.  The  fare  was,  indeed,  coarse, 
such  as  the  peasants  of  the  country  ate  ;  hut  I  will  not 
doubt  that  it  was  set  there  by  the  spirits  that  I  had  invoked 
to  aid  me.  Often,  when  all  was  dry,  the  heavens  cloud- 
less, and  I  was  parched  by  thirst,  a  slight  cloud  would 
bedim  the  sky,  shed  the  few  drops  that  revived  me,  and 
vanish. 

I  followed,  when  I  could,  the  courses  of  the  rivers ;  but 
the  daemon  generally  avoided  these,  as  it  was  here  that  the 
population  of  the  country  chiefly  collected.  In  other  places 
human  beings  were  seldom  seen ;  and  I  generally  subsisted 
on  the  wild  animals  that  crossed  my  path.  I  had  money 
with  me,  and  gained  the  friendship  of  the  villagers  by  dis- 
tributing it ;  or  I  brought  with  me  some  food  that  I  had 
killed,  which,  after  taking  a  small  part,  I  always  presented 
to  those  who  had  provided  me  with  fire  and  utensils  for 
cooking. 

My  life,  as  it  passed  thus,  was  indeed  hateful  to  me,  and 
it  was  during  sleep  alone  that  I  could  taste  joy.  O  blessed 
sleep  !  often,  when  most  miserable,  I  sank  to  repose,  and 
my  dreams  lulled  me  even  to  rapture.  The  spirits  that 
guarded  me  had  provided  these  moments,  or  rather  hours, 
of  happiness,  that  I  might  retain  strength  to  fulfil  my  pil- 
grimage. Deprived  of  this  respite,  I  should  have  sunk 
under  my  hardships.  During  the  day  I  was  sustained  and 
inspirited  by  the  hope  of  night :  for  in  sleep  I  saw  my 
friends,  my  wife,  and  my  beloved  country ;  again  I  saw 
the  benevolent  countenance  of  my  father,  heard  the  silver 
tones  of  my  Elizabeth's  voice,  and  beheld  Clerval  enjoying 
N  4 


184  FRANKENSTEIN;  OR, 

health  and  youth.  Often,  when  wearied  by  a  toilsome 
march,  I  persuaded  myself  that  I  was  dreaming  until  night 
should  come,  and  that  I  should  then  enjoy  reality  in  the 
arms  of  my  dearest  friends.  What  agonising  fondness  did 
I  feel  for  them  !  how  did  I  cling  to  their  dear  forms,  as 
sometimes  they  haunted  even  my  waking  hours,  and  per- 
suade myself  that  they  still  lived !  At  such  moments  ven- 
geance, that  burned  within  me,  died  in  my  heart,  and  1 
pursued  my  path  towards  the  destruction  of  the  daemon, 
more  as  a  task  enjoined  by  heaven,  as  the  mechanical  im- 
pulse of  some  power  of  which  I  was  unconscious,  than  as 
the  ardent  desire  of  my  soul. 

What  his  feelings  were  whom  I  pursued  I  cannot  know. 
Sometimes,  indeed,  he  left  marks  in  writing  on  the  barks 
of  the  trees,  or  cut  in  stone,  that  guided  me,  and  instigated 
my  fury.  "  My  reign  is  not  yet  over,'*  (these  words  were 
legible  in  one  of  these  inscriptions;)  "  you  live,  and  my 
power  is  complete.  Follow  me ;  I  seek  the  everlasting 
ices  of  the  north,  where  you  will  feel  the  misery  of  cold  and 
frost,  to  which  I  am  impassive.  You  will  find  near  this 
place,  if  you  follow  not  too  tardily,  a  dead  hare ;  eat,  and 
be  refreshed.  Come  on,  my  enemy ;  we  have  yet  to 
wrestle  for  our  lives ;  but  many  hard  and  miserable  hours 
must  you  endure  until  that  period  shall  arrive." 

Scoffing  devil !  Again  do  I  vow  vengeance  ;  again  do  I 
devote  thee,  miserable  fiend,  to  torture  and  death.  Never 
will  I  give  up  my  search,  until  he  or  I  perish ;  and  then 
with  what  ecstasy  shall  I  join  my  Elizabeth,  and  my  de- 
parted friends,  who  even  now  prepare  for  me  the  reward  of 
my  tedious  toil  and  horrible  pilgrimage  ! 

As  I  still  pursued  my  journey  to  the  northward,  the 
snows  thickened,  and  the  cold  increased  in  a  degree  almost 
too  severe  to  support.  The  peasants  were  shut  up  in  their 
hovels,  and  only  a  few  of  the  most  hardy  ventured  forth  to 
seize  the  animals  whom  starvation  had  forced  from  their 
hiding-places  to  seek  for  prey.  The  rivers  were  covered 
with  ice,  and  no  fish  could  be  procured ;  and  thus  I  was 
cut  off  from  my  chief  article  of  maintenance. 

The  triumph  of  my  enemy  increased  with  the  difficulty 
of  my  labours.  One  inscription  that  he  left  was  in  these 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  185 

words:  —  "Prepare!  your  toils  only  begin:  wrap  your- 
self in  furs,,  and  provide  food;  for  we  shall  soon  enter 
upon  a  journey  where  your  sufferings  will  satisfy  my  ever- 
lasting hatred." 

My  courage  and  perseverance  were  invigorated  by  these 
scoffing  words  ;  I  resolved  not  to  fail  in  my  purpose;  and, 
calling  on  Heaven  to  support  me,  I  continued  with  un- 
abated fervour  to  traverse  immense  deserts,  until  the  ocean 
appeared  at  a  distance,  and  formed  the  utmost  boundary  of 
the  horizon.  Oh  !  how  unlike  it  was  to  the  blue  seas  of 
the  south  !  Covered  with  ice,  it  was  only  to  be  distin- 
guished from  land  by  its  superior  wildness  and  ruggedness. 
The  Greeks  wept  for  joy  when  they  beheld  the  Mediter- 
ranean from  the  hills  of  Asia,  and  hailed  with  rapture  the 
boundary  of  their  toils.  I  did  not  weep  ;  but  I  knelt 
down,  and,  with  a  full  heart,  thanked  my  guiding  spirit  for 
conducting  me  in  safety  to  the  place  where  I  hoped,  not- 
withstanding my  adversary's  gibe,  to  meet  and  grapple 
with  him. 

Some  weeks  before  this  period  I  had  procured  a  sledge 
and  dogs,  and  thus  traversed  the  snows  with  inconceivable 
speed.  I  know  not  whether  the  fiend  possessed  the  same  ad- 
vantages ;  but  I  found  that,  as  before  I  had  daily  lost  ground 
in  the  pursuit,  I  now  gained  on  him  :  so  much  so,  that 
when  I  first  saw  the  ocean,  he  was  but  one  day's  journey 
in  advance,  and  I  hoped  to  intercept  him  before  he  should 
reach  the  beach.  With  new  courage,  therefore,  I  pressed 
on,  and  in  two  days  arrived  at  a  wretched  hamlet  on  the 
sea-shore.  I  enquired  of  the  inhabitants  concerning  the 
fiend,  and  gained  accurate  information.  A  gigantic  mon- 
ster, they  said,  had  arrived  the  night  before,  armed  with  a 
gun  and  many  pistols ;  putting  to  flight  the  inhabitants  of 
a  solitary  cottage,  through  fear  of  his  terrific  appearance. 
He  had  carried  off  their  store  of  winter  food,  and,  placing 
it  in  a  sledge,  to  draw  which  he  had  seized  on  a  numerous 
drove  of  trained  dogs,  he  had  harnessed  them,  and  the 
same  night,  to  the  joy  of  the  horror-struck  villagers,  had 
pursued  his  journey  across  the  sea  in  a  direction  that  led  to 
no  land ;  and  they  conjectured  that  he  must  speedily  be 


186 


FRANKENSTEIN  I    OR, 


destroyed  by  the  breaking  of  the  ice,  or  frozen  by  the 
eternal  frosts. 

On  hearing  this  information,,  I  suffered  a  temporary 
access  of  despair.  He  had  escaped  me  ;  and  I  must  com- 
mence a  destructive  and  almost  endless  journey  across  the 
mountainous  ices  of  the  ocean,  —  amidst  cold  that  few  of 
the  inhabitants  could  long  endure,  and  which  I,  the  native 
of  a  genial  and  sunny  climate,  could  not  hope  to  survive. 
Yet  at  the  idea  that  the  fiend  should  live  and  be  triumphant, 
my  rage  and  vengeance  returned,  and,  like  a  mighty  tide, 
overwhelmed  every  other  feeling.  After  a  slight  repose, 
during  which  the  spirits  of  the  dead  hovered  round,  and 
instigated  me  to  toil  and  revenge,  I  prepared  for  my 
journey. 

I  exchanged  my  land-sledge  for  one  fashioned  for  the 
inequalities  of  the  Frozen  Ocean ;  and  purchasing  a  plen- 
tiful stock  of  provisions,  I  departed  from  land. 

I  cannot  guess  how  many  days  have  passed  since  then ; 
but  I  have  endured  misery,  which  nothing  but  the  eternal 
sentiment  of  a  just  retribution  burning  within  my  heart 
could  have  enabled  me  to  support.  Immense  and  rugged 
mountains  of  ice  often  barred  up  my  passage,  and  I  often 
heard  the  thunder  of  the  ground  sea,  which  threatened  my 
destruction.  But  again  the  frost  came,  and  made  the 
paths  of  the  sea  secure. 

By  the  quantity  of  provision  which  I  had  consumed,  I 
should  guess  that  I  had  passed  three  weeks  in  this  journey; 
and  the  continual  protraction  of  hope,  returning  back  upon 
the  heart,  often  wrung  bitter  drops  of  despondency  and 
grief  from  my  eyes.  Despair  had  indeed  almost  secured 
her  prey,  and  I  should  soon  have  sunk  beneath  this  misery. 
Once,  after  the  poor  animals  that  conveyed  me  had  with 
incredible  toil  gained  the  summit  of  a  sloping  ice-mountain, 
and  one,  sinking  under  his  fatigue,  died,  I  viewed  the 
expanse  before  me  with  anguish,  when  suddenly  my  eye 
caught  a  dark  speck  upon  the  dusky  plain.  I  strained  my 
sight  to  discover  what  it  could  be,  and  uttered  a  wild  cry 
of  ecstasy  when  I  distinguished  a  sledge,  and  the  distorted 
proportions  of  a  well-known  form  within.  Oh !  with 
what  a  burning  gush  did  hope  revisit  my  heart !  warm 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  187 

tears  filled  my  eyes,  which  I  hastily  wiped  away,  that  they 
might  not  intercept  the  view  I  had  of  the  daemon ;  but 
still  my  sight  was  dimmed  by  the  burning  drops,  until, 
giving  way  to  the  emotions  that  oppressed  me,  I  wept 
aloud. 

But  this  was  not  the  time  for  delay  :  I  disencumbered 
the  dogs  of  their  dead  companion,  gave  them  a  plentiful 
portion  of  food ;  and,  after  an  hour's  rest,  which  was  ab- 
solutely necessary,  and  yet  which  was  bitterly  irksome  to 
me,  I  continued  my  route.  The  sledge  was  still  visible; 
nor  did  I  again  lose  sight  of  it,  except  at  the  moments 
when  for  a  short  time  some  ice-rock  concealed  it  with  its 
intervening  crags.  I  indeed  perceptibly  gained  on  it ;  and 
when,  after  nearly  two  days'  journey,  I  beheld  my  enemy  at 
no  more  than  a  mile  distant,  my  heart  bounded  within  me. 

But  now,  when  I  appeared  almost  within  grasp  of  my 
foe,  my  hopes  were  suddenly  extinguished,  and  I  lost 
all  trace  of  him  more  utterly  than  I  had  ever  done  before. 
A  ground  sea  was  heard  ;  the  thunder  of  its  progress,  as 
the  waters  rolled  and  swelled  beneath  me,  became  every 
moment  more  ominous  and  terrific.  I  pressed  on,  but  in 
vain.  The  wind  arose ;  the  sea  roared ;  and,  as  with  the 
mighty  shock  of  an  earthquake,  it  split,  and  cracked  with  a 
tremendous  and  overwhelming  sound.  The  work  was  soon 
finished  :  in  a  few  minutes  a  tumultuous  sea  rolled  between 
me  and  my  enemy,  and  I  was  left  drifting  on  a  scattered 
piece  of  ice,  that  was  continually  lessening,  and  thus  pre- 
paring for  me  a  hideous  death. 

In  this  manner  many  appalling  hours  passed ;  several  of 
my  dogs  died ;  and  I  myself  was  about  to  sink  under  the 
accumulation  of  distress,  when  I  saw  your  vessel  riding  at 
anchor,  and  holding  forth  to  me  hopes  of  succour  and  life. 
I  had  no  conception  that  vessels  ever  came  so  far  north,  and 
was  astounded  at  the  sight.  I  quickly  destroyed  part  of 
my  sledge  to  construct  oars  ;  and  by  these  means  was  en- 
abled, with  infinite  fatigue,  to  move  my  ice-raft  in  the  di- 
rection of  your  ship.  I  had  determined,  if  you  were  going 
southward,  still  to  trust  myself  to  the  mercy  of  the  seas 
rather  than  abandon  my  purpose.  I  hoped  to  induce  you 
to  grant  me  a  boat  with  which  I  could  pursue  my  enemy. 


188  FRANKENSTEIN;  on, 

But  your  direction  was  northward.  You  took  me  on  board 
when  my  vigour  was  exhausted,,  and  I  should  soon  have 
sunk  under  my  multiplied  hardships  into  a  death  which  I 
still  dread — for  my  task  is  unfulfilled. 

Oh!  when  will  my  guiding  spirit,  in  conducting  me  to 
the  daemon,,  allow  me  the  rest  I  so  much  desire ;  or  must  I 
die,  and  he  yet  live  ?  If  I  do,  swear  to  me,  Walton,  that 
he  shall  not  escape  ;  that  you  will  seek  him,  and  satisfy  my 
vengeance  in  his  death.  And  do  I  dare  to  ask  of  you  to 
undertake  my  pilgrimage,  to  endure  the  hardships  that  I 
have  undergone  ?  No ;  I  am  not  so  selfish.  Yet,  when  I 
am  dead,  if  he  should  appear  ;  if  the  ministers  of  vengeance 
should  conduct  him  to  you,  swear  that  he  shall  not  live  — - 
swear  that  he  shall  not  triumph  over  my  accumulated  woes, 
and  survive  to  add  to  the  list  of  his  dark  crimes.  He  is 
eloquent  and  persuasive;  and  once  his  words  had  even  power 
over  my  heart :  but  trust  him  not.  His  soul  is  as  hellish  as 
his  form,  full  of  treachery  and  fiendlike  malice.  Hear  him 
not ;  call  on  the  manes  of  William,  Justine,  Clerval,  Eli- 
zabeth, my  father,  and  of  the  wretched  Victor,  and  thrust 
your  sword  into  his  heart.  I  will  hover  near,  and  direct 
the  steel  aright. 

WALTON,  in  continuation. 

August  26th,  17 — . 

You  have  read  this  strange  and  terrific  story,  Margaret ; 
and  do  you  not  feel  your  blood  congeal  with  horror,  like 
that  which  even  now  curdles  mine  ?  Sometimes,  seized  with 
sudden  agony,  he  could  not  continue  his  tale  ;  at  others, 
his  voice  broken,  yet  piercing,  uttered  with  difficulty  the 
words  so  replete  with  anguish;  His  fine  and  lovely  eyes  were 
now  lighted  up  with  indignation,  now  subdued  to  downcast 
sorrow,  and  quenched  in  infinite  wretchedness.  Sometimes 
he  commanded  his  countenance  and  tones,  and  related  the 
most  horrible  incidents  with  a  tranquil  voice,  suppressing 
every  mark  of  agitation  ;  then,  like  a  volcano  bursting  forth, 
his  face  would  suddenly  change  to  an  expression  of  the 
wildest  rage,  as  he  shrieked  out  imprecations  on  his  per- 
secutor. 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  189 

His  tale  is  connected,  and  told  with  an  appearance  of  the 
simplest  truth ;  yet  I  own  to  you  that  the  letters  of  Felix 
and  Safie,  which  he  showed  me,  and  the  apparition  of  the 
monster  seen  from  our  ship,  brought  to  me  a  greater  con- 
viction of  the  truth  of  his  narrative  than  his  asseverations, 
however  earnest  and  connected.  Such  a  monster  has  then 
really  existence  !  I  cannot  doubt  it ;  yet  I  am  lost  in  sur- 
prise and  admiration.  Sometimes  I  endeavoured  to  gain 
from  Frankenstein  the  particulars  of  his  creature's  form- 
ation :  but  on  this  point  he  was  impenetrable. 

"  Are  you  mad,  my  friend  ? "  said  he ;  ee  or  whither 
does  your  senseless  curiosity  lead  you  ?  Would  you  also 
create  for  yourself  and  the  world  a  demoniacal  enemy  ? 
Peace,  peace !  learn  my  miseries,  and  do  not  seek  to  in- 
crease your  own." 

Frankenstein  discovered  that  II  made  notes  concerning 
his  history :  he  asked  to  see  them,  and  then  himself  cor- 
rected and  augmented  them  in  many  places  ;  but  princi- 
pally in  giving  the  life  and  spirit  to  the  conversations  he 
held  with  his  enemy.  "  Since  you  have  preserved  my  nar- 
ration," said  he,  "  I  would  not  that  a  mutilated  one  should 
go  down  to  posterity." 

Thus  has  a  week  passed  away,  while  I  have  listened  to 
the  strangest  tale  that  ever  imagination  formed.  My 
thoughts,  and  every  feeling  of  my  soul,  have  been  drunk  up 
by  the  interest  for  my  guest,  which  this  tale,  and  his  own 
elevated  and  gentle  manners,  have  created.  I  wish  to  soothe 
him ;  yet  can  I  counsel  one  so  infinitely  miserable,  so  des- 
titute of  every  hope  of  consolation,  to  live  ?  Oh,  no  !  the 
only  joy  that  he  can  now  know  will  be  when  he  composes 
his  shattered  spirit  to  peace  and  death.  Yet  he  enjoys  one 
comfort,  the  offspring  of  solitude  and  delirium  :  he  believes, 
that,  when  in  dreams  he  holds  converse  with  his  friends, 
and  derives  from  that  communion  consolation  for  his  mi- 
series, or  excitements  to  his  vengeance,  that  they  are  not  the 
creations  of  his  fancy,  but  the  beings  themselves  who  visit 
him  from  the  regions  of  a  remote  world.  This  faith  gives 
a  solemnity  to  his  reveries  that  render  them  to  me  almost  as 
imposing  and  interesting  as  truth. 

Our  conversations  are  not  always  confined  to  his  own 


190  FRANKENSTEIN  ;    OB, 

history  and  misfortunes.  On  every  point  of  general  litera- 
ture he  displays  unbounded  knowledge,  and  a  quick  and 
piercing  apprehension.  His  eloquence  is  forcible  and  touch- 
ing ;  nor  can  I  hear  him,  when  he  relates  a  pathetic  inci. 
dent,  or  endeavours  to  move  the  passions  of  pity  or  love, 
without  tears.  What  a  glorious  creature  must  he  have 
been  in  the  days  of  his  prosperity,  when  he  is  thus  noble 
and  godlike  in  ruin !  He  seems  to  feel  his  own  worth,  and 
the  greatness  of  his  fall. 

"  When  younger,"  said  he,  "  I  believed  myself  destined 
for  some  great  enterprise.  My  feelings  are  profound ;  but 
I  possessed  a  coolness  of  judgment  that  fitted  me  for  illus- 
trious achievements.  This  sentiment  of  the  worth  of 
my  nature  supported  me,  when  others  would  have  been 
been  oppressed ;  for  I  deemed  it  criminal  to  throw  away  in 
useless  grief  those  talents  that  might  be  useful  to  my  fellow- 
creatures.  When  I  reflected  on  the  work  I  had  completed, 
no  less  a  one  than  the  creation  of  a  sensitive  and  rational 
animal,  I  could  not  rank  myself  with  the  herd  of  common 
projectors.  But  this  thought,  which  supported  me  in  the 
commencement  of  my  career,  now  serves  only  to  plunge  me 
lower  in  the  dust.  Ah1  my  speculations  and  hopes  are  as 
nothing ;  and,  like  the  archangel  who  aspired  to  omnipo- 
tence, I  am  chained  in  an  eternal  hell.  My  imagination 
was  vivid,  yet  my  powers  of  analysis  and  application  were 
intense  ;  by  the  union  of  these  qualities  I  conceived  the 
idea,  and  executed  the  creation  of  a  man.  Even  now  I 
cannot  recollect,  without  passion,  my  reveries  while  the 
work  was  incomplete.  I  trod  heaven  in  my  thoughts,  now 
exulting  in  my  powers,  now  burning  with  the  idea  of  their 
effects.  From  my  infancy  I  was  imbued  with  high  hopes 
and  a  lofty  ambition ;  but  how  am  I  sunk  !  Oh !  my 
friend,  if  you  had  known  me  as  I  once  was,  you  would  not 
recognise  me  in  this  state  of  degradation.  Despondency 
rarely  visited  my  heart ;  a  high  destiny  seemed  to  bear  me 
on,  until  I  fell,  never,  never  again  to  rise." 

Must  I  then  lose  this  admirable  being  ?  I  have  longed 
for  a  friend ;  I  have  sought  one  who  would  sympathise 
with  and  love  me.  Behold,  on  these  desert  seas  I  have 
found  such  a  one ;  but,  I  fear,  I  have  gained  him  only  to 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  1$1 

know  his  value,  and  lose  him.     I  would  reconcile  him  to 
life,  but  he  repulses  the  idea. 

"  I  thank  you,  Walton,"  he  said,  ie  for  your  kind  in- 
tentions towards  so  miserable  a  wretch  ;  but  when  you  speak 
of  new  ties,  and  fresh  affections,  think  you  that  any  can 
replace  those  who  are  gone  ?  Can  any  man  be  to  me  as 
Clerval  was;  or  any  woman  another  Elizabeth?  Even 
where  the  affections  are  not  strongly  moved  by  any  superior 
excellence,  the  companions  of  our  childhood  always  possess 
a  certain  power  over  our  minds,  which  hardly  any  later 
friend  can  obtain.  They  know  our  infantine  dispositions, 
which,  however  they  may  be  afterwards  modified,  are 
never  eradicated ;  and  they  can  judge  of  our  actions  with 
more  certain  conclusions  as  to  the  integrity  of  our  motives. 
A  sister  or  a  brother  can  never,  unless  indeed  such  symp- 
toms have  been  shown  early,  suspect  the  other  of  fraud  or 
false  dealing,  when  another  friend,  however  strongly  he  may 
be  attached,  may,  in  spite  of  himself,  be  contemplated  with 
suspicion.  But  I  enjoyed  friends,  dear  not  only  through 
habit  and  association,  but  from  their  own  merits;  and 
wherever  I  am,  the  soothing  voice  of  my  Elizabeth,  and 
the  conversation  of  Clerval,  will  be  ever  whispered  in  my 
ear.  They  are  dead;  and  but  one  feeling  in  such  a  soli- 
tude can  persuade  me  to  preserve  my  life.  If  I  were  en- 
gaged in  any  high  undertaking  or  design,  fraught  with 
extensive  utility  to  my  fellow- creatures,  then  could  I  live  to 
fulfil  it.  But  such  is  not  my  destiny  ;  I  must  pursue  and 
destroy  the  being  to  whom  I  gave  existence ;  then  my  lot 
on  earth  will  be  fulfilled,  and  I  may  die." 

My  beloved  Sister,  September  2d. 

I  write  to  you,  encompassed  by  peril,  and  ignorant 
whether  I  am  ever  doomed  to  see  again  dear  England,  and 
the  dearer  friends  that  inhabit  it.  I  am  surrounded  by 
mountains  of  ice,  which  admit  of  no  escape,  and  threaten 
every  moment  to  crush  my  vessel.  The  brave  fellows, 
whom  I  have  persuaded  to  be  my  companions,  look  towards 
me  for  aid ;  but  I  have  none  to  bestow.  There  is  some- 
thing terribly  appalling  in  our  situation,  yet  my  courage 
and  hopes  do  not  desert  me.  Yet  it  is  terrible  to  reflect 


FRANKENSTEIN;  OR, 

that  the  lives  of  all  these  men  are  endangered  through  me. 
If  we  are  lost,  my  mad  schemes  are  the  cause. 

And  what,  Margaret,  will  be  the  state  of  your  mind? 
You  will  not  hear  of  my  destruction,  and  you  will  anxiously 
await  my  return.  Years  will  pass,  and  you  will  have  visit- 
ings  of  despair,  and  yet  be  tortured  by  hope.  Oh  !  my  be- 
loved sister,  the  sickening  failing  of  your  heart-felt  expect- 
ations is,  in  prospect,  more  terrible  to  me  than  my  own 
death.  But  you  have  a  husband,  and  lovely  children ;  you 
may  be  happy  :  Heaven  bless  you,  and  make  you  so  ! 

My  unfortunate  guest  regards  me  with  the  tenderest 
compassion.  He  endeavours  to  fill  me  with  hope ;  and 
talks  as  if  life  were  a  possession  which  he  valued.  He 
reminds  me  how  often  the  same  accidents  have  happened  to 
other  navigators,  who  have  attempted  this  sea,  and,  in  spite 
of  myself,  he  fills  me  with  cheerful  auguries.  Even  the 
sailors  feel  the  power  of  his  eloquence :  when  he  speaks, 
they  no  longer  despair  ;  he  rouses  their  energies,  and,  while 
they  hear  his  voice,  they  believe  these  vast  mountains  of 
ice  are  mole-hills,  which  will  vanish  before  the  resolutions 
of  man.  These  feelings  are  transitory  ;  each  day  of  expect- 
ation delayed  fills  them  with  fear,  and  I  almost  dread  a 
mutiny  caused  by  this  despair. 

September  5th. 

A  scene  has  just  passed  of  such  uncommon  interest,  that 
although  it  is  highly  probable  that  these  papers  may  never 
reach  you,  yet  I  cannot  forbear  recording  it. 

We  are  still  surrounded  by  mountains  of  ice,  still  in 
imminent  danger  of  being  crushed  in  their  conflict.  The 
cold  is  excessive,  and  many  of  my  unfortunate  comrades 
have  already  found  a  grave  amidst  this  scene  of  desolation. 
Frankenstein  has  daily  declined  in  health :  a  feverish  fire 
still  glimmers  in  his  eyes ;  but  he  is  exhausted,  and,  when 
suddenly  roused  to  any  exertion,  he  speedily  sinks  again 
into  apparent  lifelessness. 

I  mentioned  in  my  last  letter  the  fears  I  entertained  of  a 
mutiny.  This  morning,  as  I  sat  watching  the  wan  coun- 
tenance of  my  friend  —  his  eyes  half  closed,  and  his  limbs 
hanging  listlessly,  —  I  was  roused  by  half  a  dozen  of  the 
sailors,  who  demanded  admission  into  the  cabin.  They 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  193 

entered,  and  their  leader  addressed  me.  He  told  me  that 
he  and  his  companions  had  been  chosen  by  the  other  sailors 
to  come  in  deputation  to  me,  to  make  me  a  requisition, 
which,  in  justice,  I  could  not  refuse.  We  were  immured 
in  ice,  and  should  probably  never  escape ;  but  they  feared 
that  if,  as  was  possible,  the  ice  should  dissipate,  and  a  free 
passage  be  opened,  I  should  be  rash  enough  to  continue 
my  voyage,  and  lead  them  into  fresh  dangers,  after  they 
might  happily  have  surmounted  this.  They  insisted,  there- 
fore, that  I  should  engage  with  a  solemn  promise,  that  if 
the  vessel  should  be  freed  I  would  instantly  direct  my 
course  southward. 

This  speech  troubled  me.  I  had  not  despaired ;  nor  had 
I  yet  conceived  the  idea  of  returning,  if  set  free.  Yet 
could  I,  injustice,  or  even  in  possibility,  refuse  this  demand? 
I  hesitated  before  I  answered;  when  Frankenstein,  who 
had  at  first  been  silent,  and,  indeed,  appeared  hardly  to 
have  force  enough  to  attend,  now  roused  himself ;  his  eyes 
sparkled,  and  his  cheeks  flushed  with  momentary  vigour. 
Turning  towards  the  men,  he  said  — 

f<  What  do  you  mean  ?  What  do  you  demand  of  your  cap- 
tain ?  Are  you  then  so  easily  turned  from  your  design  ?  Did 
you  not  call  this  a  glorious  expedition  ?  And  wherefore  was 
it  glorious  ?  Not  because  the  way  was  smooth  and  placid 
as  a  southern  sea,  but  because  it  was  full  of  dangers  and 
terror ;  because,  at  every  new  incident,  your  fortitude  was 
to  be  called  forth,  and  your  courage  exhibited;  because 
danger  and  death  surrounded  it,  and  these  you  were  to  brave 
and  overcome.  For  this  was  it  a  glorious,  for  this  was  it 
an  honourable  undertaking.  You  were  hereafter  to  be 
hailed  as  the  benefactors  of  your  species;  your  names 
adored,  as  belonging  to  brave  men  who  encountered  death 
for  honour,  and  the  benefit  of  mankind.  And  now,  behold, 
with  the  first  imagination  of  danger,  or,  if  you  will,  the 
first  mighty  and  terrific  trial  of  your  courage,  you  shrink 
away,  and  are  content  to  be  handed  down  as  men  who  had 
not  strength  enough  to  endure  cold  and  peril;  and  so,  poor 
souls,  they  were  chilly,  and  returned  to  their  warm  fire- 
sides. Why,  that  requires  not  this  preparation ;  ye  need 
not  have  corne  thus  far,  and  dragged  your  captain  to  the 
o 


194  FRANKENSTEIN;  on, 

shame  of  a  defeat,  merely  to  prove  yourselves  cowards. 
Oh  !  be  men,  or  be  more  than  men.  Be  steady  to  your 
purposes,  and  firm  as  a  rock.  This  ice  is  not  made  of 
such  stuff  as  your  hearts  may  be  ;  it  is  mutable,  and  cannot 
withstand  you,  if  you  say  that  it  shall  not.  Do  not  return 
to  your  families  with  the  stigma  of  disgrace  marked  on  your 
brows.  Return,  as  heroes  who  have  fought  and  conquered, 
and  who  know  not  what"it  is  to  turn  their  backs  on  the 
foe." 

He  spoke  this  with  a  voice  so  modulated  to  the  different 
feelings  expressed  in  his  speech,  with  an  eye  so  full  of  lofty 
design  and  heroism,  that  can  you  wonder  that  these  men 
were  moved  ?  They  looked  at  one  another,  and  were  unable 
to  reply.  I  spoke ;  I  told  them  to  retire,  and  consider  of 
what  had  been  said :  that  I  would  not  lead  them  farther 
north,  if  they  strenuously  desired  the  contrary  ;  but  that  I 
hoped  that,  with  reflection,  their  courage  would  return. 

They  retired,  and  I  turned  towards  my  friend ;  but  he 
was  sunk  in  languor,  and  almost  deprived  of  life. 

How  all  this  will  terminate,  I  know  not ;  but  I  had  rather 
die  than  return  shamefully,  —  my  purpose  unfulfilled.  Yet 
I  fear  such  will  be  my  fate ;  the  men,  unsupported  by  ideas 
of  glory  and  honour,  can  never  willingly  continue  to  endure 
their  present  hardships. 

September  7th.     ' 

The  die  is  cast ;  I  have  consented  to  return,  if  we  are  not 
destroyed.  Thus  are  my  hopes  blasted  by  cowardice  and 
indecision  ;  I  come  back  ignorant  and  disappointed.  It 
requires  more  philosophy  than  I  possess,  to  bear  this  injus- 
tice with  patience. 

September  12th.     l 

It  is  past ;  I  am  returning  to  England.  I  have  lost  my 
hopes  of  utility  and  glory  ;  —  I  have  lost  my  friend.  But 
I  will  endeavour  to  detail  these  bitter  circumstances  to  you, 
my  dear  sister ;  and,  while  I  am  wafted  towards  England, 
and  towards  you,  I  will  not  despond. 

September  9th,  the  ice  began  to  move,  and  roarings  like 
thunder  were  heard  at  a  distance,  as  the  islands  split  and 
cracked  in  every  direction.  We  were  in  the  most  imminent 
peril ;  but,  as  we  could  only  remain  passive,  my  chief  atten- 


THE    MODERN"    PROMETHEUS.  1Q 

tion  was  occupied  by  my  unfortunate  guest,  whose  illness 
increased  in  such  a  degree,  that  he  was  entirely  confined  to 
his  bed.  The  ice  cracked  behind  us,  and  was  driven  with 
force  towards  the  north  ;  a  breeze  sprung  from  the  west, 
and  on  the  llth  the  passage  towards  the  south  became  per- 
fectly free.  When  the  sailors  saw  this,  and  that  their 
return  to  their  native  country  was  apparently  assured,  a 
shout  of  tumultuous  joy  broke  from  them,  loud  and  long- 
continued.  Frankenstein,  who  was  dozing,  awoke,  and 
asked  the  cause  of  the  tumult.  "  They  shout,"  I  said, 
"  because  they  will  soon  return  to  England." 

"  Do  you  then  really  return  ?  " 

(<  Alas  !  yes  ;  I  cannot  withstand  their  demands.  I 
cannot  lead  them  unwillingly  to  danger,  and  I  must  return." 

fc  Do  so,  if  you  will ;  but  I  will  not.  You  may  give 
up  your  purpose,  but  mine  is  assigned  to  me  by  Heaven, 
and  I  dare  not.  I  am  weak  ;  but  surely  the  spirits  who 
assist  my  vengeance  will  endow  me  with  sufficient  strength." 
Saying  this,  he  endeavoured  to  spring  from  the  bed,  but 
the  exertion  was  too  great  for  him  ;  he  fell  back,  and 
fainted. 

It  was  long  before  he  was  restored ;  and  I  often  thought 
that  life  was  entirely  extinct.  At  length  he  opened  his 
eyes ;  he  breathed  with  difficulty,  and  was  unable  to  speak. 
The  surgeon  gave  him  a  composing  draught,  and  ordered 
us  to  leave  him  undisturbed.  In  the  mean  time  he  told 
me,  that  my  friend  had  certainly  not  many  hours  to  live. 

His  sentence  was  pronounced;  and  I  could  only  grieve, 
and  be  patient.  I  sat  by  his  bed,  watching  him  ;  his  eyes 
were  closed,  and  I  thought  he  slept ;  but  presently  he  called 
to  me  in  a  feeble  voice,  and,  bidding  me  come  near,  said 
—  "  Alas  !  the  strength  I  relied  on  is  gone ;  I  feel  that  I 
shall  soon  die,  and  he,  my  enemy  and  persecutor,  may  still 
be  in  being.  Think  not,  Walton,  that  in  the  last  moments 
of  my  existence  I  feel  that  burning  hatred,  and  ardent 
desire  of  revenge,  I  once  expressed ;  but  I  feel  myself  jus- 
tified in  desiring  the  death  of  my  adversary.  During  these 
last  days  I  have  been  occupied  in  examining  my  past  con- 
duct ;  nor  do  I  find  it  blamable.  In  a  fit  of  enthusiastic 
madness  I  created  a  rational  creature,  and  was  bound  to- 
o  2 


196'  FRANKENSTEIN;    OB, 

wards  him,  to  assure,  as  far  as  was  in  my  power,  his  hap- 
piness and  well-being.  This  was  my  duty ;  but  there  was 
another  still  paramount  to  that.  My  duties  towards  the 
beings  of  my  own  species  had  greater  claims  to  my  atten- 
tion, because  they  included  a  greater  proportion  of  happiness 
or  misery.  Urged  by  this  view,  I  refused,  and  I  did  right 
in  refusing,  to  create  a  companion  for  the  first  creature. 
He  showed  unparalleled  malignity  and  selfishness,  in  evil : 
he  destroyed  my  friends  ;  he  devoted  to  destruction  beings 
who  possessed  exquisite  sensations,  happiness,  and  wisdom; 
nor  do  I  know  where  this  thirst  for  vengeance  may  end. 
Miserable  himself,  that  he  may  render  no  other  wretched, 
he  ought  to  die.  The  task  of  his  destruction  was  mine, 
but  I  have  failed.  When  actuated  by  selfish  and  vicious 
motives,  I  asked  you  to  undertake  my  unfinished  work ;  and 
I  renew  this  request  now,  when  I  am  only  induced  by 
reason  and  virtue. 

"  Yet  I  cannot  ask  you  to  renounce  your  country  and 
friends,  to  fulfil  this  task ;  and  now,  that  you  are  returning 
to  England,  you  will  have  little  chance  of  meeting  with 
him.  But  the  consideration  of  these  points,  and  the  well 
balancing  of  what  you  may  esteem  your  duties,  I  leave  to 
you ;  my  judgment  and  ideas  are  already  disturbed  by  the 
near  approach  of  death.  I  dare  not  ask  you  to  do  what  I 
think  right,  for  I  may  still  be  misled  by  passion. 

"  That  he  should  live  to  be  an  instrument  of  mischief 
disturbs  me  j  in  other  respects,  this  hour,  when  I  moment- 
arily expect  my  release,  is  the  only  happy  one  which  I  have 
enjoyed  for  several  years.  The  forms  of  the  beloved  dead 
flit  before  me,  and  I  hasten  to  their  arms.  Farewell, 
Walton  !  Seek  happiness  in  tranquillity,  and  avoid  am- 
bition, even  if  it  be  only  the  apparently  innocent  one  of 
distinguishing  yourself  in  science  and  discoveries.  Yet  why 
do  I  say  this  ?  I  have  myself  been  blasted  in  these  hopes, 
yet  another  may  succeed." 

His  voice  became  fainter  as  he  spoke ;  and  at  length, 
exhausted  by  his  effort,  he  sunk  into  silence.  About  half 
an  hour  afterwards  he  attempted  again  to  speak,  but  was 
unable ;  he  pressed  my  hand  feebly,  and  his  eyes  closed  foe 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  197 

ever,  while  the  irradiation  of  a  gentle  smile  passed  away 
from  his  lips. 

Margaret,  what  comment  can  I  make  on  the  untimely 
extinction  of  this  glorious  spirit  ?  What  can  I  say,  that 
will  enable  you  to  understand  the  depth  of  my  sorrow  ? 
All  that  I  should  express  would  be  inadequate  and  feeble. 
My  tears  flow ;  my  mind  is  overshadowed  by  a  cloud  of 
disappointment.  But  I  journey  towards  England,  and  I 
may  there  find  consolation. 

I  am  interrupted.  What  do  these  sounds  portend  ?  It 
is  midnight ;  the  breeze  blows  fairly,  and  the  watch  on  deck 
scarcely  stir.  Again  ;  there  is  a  sound  as  of  a  human  voice, 
but  hoarser ;  it  comes  from  the  cabin  where  the  remains  of 
Frankenstein  still  lie.  I  must  arise,  and  examine.  Good 
night,  my  sister. 

Great  God  !  what  a  scene  has  just  taken  place  \  I  am 
yet  dizzy  with  the  remembrance  of  it.  I  hardly  know  whether 
I  shall  have  the  power  to  detail  it ;  yet  the  tale  which  I 
have  recorded  would  be  incomplete  without  this  final  and 
wonderful  catastrophe. 

I  entered  the  cabin,  where  lay  the  remains  of  my  ill-fated 
and  admirable  friend.  Over  him  hung  a  form  which  I 
cannot  find  words  to  describe ;  gigantic  in  stature,  yet  un- 
couth and  distorted  in  its  proportions.  As  he  hung  over  the 
coffin,  his  face  was  concealed  by  long  locks  of  ragged  hair  ; 
but  one  vast  hand  was  extended,  in  colour  and  apparent 
texture  like  that  of  a  mummy.  When  he  heard  the  sound 
of  my  approach,  he  ceased  to  utter  exclamations  of  grief 
and  horror,  and  sprung  towards  the  window.  Never  did  I 
behold  a  vision  so  horrible  as  his  face,  of  such  loathsome, 
yet  appalling  hideousness.  I  shut  my  eyes  involuntarily, 
and  endeavoured  to  recollect  what  were  my  duties  with 
regard  to  this  destroyer.  I  called  on  him  to  stay. 

He   paused,   looking  on   me  with  wonder ;    and,   again 

turning  towards  the  lifeless  form  of  his  creator,  he  seemed 

to  forget  my  presence,  and  every  feature  and  gesture  seemed 

instigated  by  the  wildest  rage  of  some  uncontrollable  passion. 

1  (  That   is  also  my  victim  ! "  he  exclaimed :    ' e  in  his 

murder  my  crimes  are  consummated ;  the  miserable  series 

of  my  being  is  wound  to  its  close  !     Oh_,  Frankenstein ! 

o  3 


198  FRANKENSTEIN;  OR, 

generous  and  self- devoted  being  !  what  does  it  avail  that  I 
now  ask  thee  to  pardon  me  ?  I,  who  irretrievably  destroyed 
thee  by  destroying  all  thou  lovedst.  Alas  !  he  is  cold,  he 
cannot  answer  me." 

His  voice  seemed  suffocated;  and  my  first  impulses, 
which  had  suggested  to  me  the  duty  of  obeying  the  dying 
request  of  my  friend,  in  destroying  his  enemy,  were  now 
suspended  by  a  mixture  of  curiosity  and  compassion.  I 
approached  this  tremendous  being ;  I  dared  not  again  raise 
my  eyes  to  his  face,  there  was  something  so  scaring  and 
unearthly  in  his  ugliness.  I  attempted  to  speak,  but  the 
words  died  away  on  my  lips.  The  monster  continued  to 
utter  wild  and  incoherent  self-reproaches.  At  length  I 
gathered  resolution  to  address  him  in  a  pause  of  the  tem- 
pest of  his  passion  :  ' '  Your  repentance,"  I  said,  "  is  now 
superfluous.  If  you  had  listened  to  the  voice  of  conscience, 
and  heeded  the  stings  of  remorse,  before  you  had  urged 
your  diabolical  vengeance  to  this  extremity,  Frankenstein 
would  yet  have  lived. 

"  And  do  you  dream  ?"  said  the  daemon  ;  "  do  you  think 
that  I  was  then  dead  to  agony  and  remorse?  —  He,"  he 
continued,  pointing  to  the  corpse,  "he  suffered  not  in  the 
consummation  of  the  deed — oh !  not  the  ten-thousandth 
portion  of  the  anguish  that  was  mine  during  the  lingering 
detail  of  its  execution.  A  frightful  selfishness  hurried  me 
on,  while  my  heart  was  poisoned  with  remorse.  Think  you 
that  the  groans  of  Clerval  were  music  to  my  ears  ?  My 
heart  was  fashioned  to  be  susceptible  of  love  and  sympathy; 
and,  when  wrenched  by  misery  to  vice  and  hatred,  it  did 
not  endure  the  violence  of  the  change,  without  torture  such 
as  you  cannot  even  imagine. 

(<  After  the  murder  of  Clerval,  I  returned  to  Switzerland, 
heart-broken  and  overcome.  I  pitied  Frankenstein;  my 
pity  amounted  to  horror  :  I  abhorred  myself.  But  when  I 
discovered  that  he,  the  author  at  once  of  my  existence  and 
of  its  unspeakable  torments,  dared  to  hope  for  happiness  ; 
that  while  he  accumulated  wretchedness  and  despair  upon 
me,  he  sought  his  own  enjoyment  in  feelings  and  passions 
from  the  indulgence  of  which  I  was  for  ever  barred,  then 
impotent  envy  and  bitter  indignation  filled  me  with  an  in- 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  199 

satiable  thirst  for  vengeance.  I  recollected  my  threat,  and 
resolved  that  it  should  be  accomplished.  I  knew  that  I  was 
preparing  for  myself  a  deadly  torture  j  but  I  was  the  slave, 
not  the  master,  of  an  impulse,  which  I  detested,  yet  could 
not  disobey.  Yet  when  she  died! — nay,  then  I  was  not 
miserable.  I  had  cast  off  all  feeling,  subdued  all  anguish, 
to  riot  in  the  excess  of  my  despair.  Evil  thenceforth  be- 
came my  good.  Urged  thus  far,  I  had  no  choice  but  to 
adapt  my  nature  to  an  element  which  I  had  willingly 
chosen.  The  completion  of  my  demoniacal  design  became 
an  insatiable  passion.  And  now  it  is  ended ;  there  is  my 
last  victim  ! " 

I  was  at  first  touched  by  the  expressions  of  his  misery ; 
yet,  when  I  called  to  mind  what  Frankenstein  had  said  of 
his  powers  of  eloquence  and  persuasion,  and  when  I  again 
cast  my  eyes  on  the  lifeless  form  of  my  friend,  indignation 
was  rekindled  within  me.  "  Wretch  ! "  I  said,  ee  it  is  well 
that  you  come  here  to  whine  over  the  desolation  that  you 
have  made.  You  throw  a  torch  into  a  pile  of  buildings ; 
and,  when  they  are  consumed,  you  sit  among  the  ruins,  and 
lament  the  fall.  Hypocritical  fiend  !  if  he  whom  you 
mourn  still  lived,  still  would  he  be  the  object,  again  would 
he  become  the  prey,  of  your  accursed  vengeance.  It  is 
not  pity  that  you  feel ;  you  lament  only  because  the  victim 
of  your  malignity  is  withdrawn  from  your  power." 

" Oh,  it  is  not  thus  —  not  thus,"  interrupted  the  being; 
"  yet  such  must  be  the  impression  conveyed  to  you  by  what 
appears  to  be  the  purport  of  my  actions.  Yet  I  seek  not  a 
fellow-feeling  in  my  misery.  No  sympathy  may  I  ever 
find.  When  I  first  sought  it,  it  was  the  love  of  virtue, 
the  feelings  of  happiness  and  affection  with  which  my 
whole  being  overflowed,  that  I  wished  to  be  participated. 
But  now,  that  virtue  has  become  to  me  a  shadow,  and  that 
happiness  and  affection  are  turned  into  bitter  and  loathing 
despair,  in  what  should  I  seek  for  sympathy  ?  I  am  content 
to  suffer  alone,  while  my  sufferings  shall  endure :  when  I 
die,  I  am  well  satisfied  that  abhorrence  and  opprobrium 
should  load  my  memory.  Once  my  fancy  was  soothed 
with  dreams  of  virtue,  of  fame,  and  of  enjoyment.  Once 
I  falsely  hoped  to  meet  with  beings,  who,  pardoning  my 


200  FRANKENSTEIN;  on, 

outward  form,  would  love  me  for  the  excellent  qualities 
which  I  was  capable  of  unfolding.  I  was  nourished  with 
high  thoughts  of  honour  and  devotion.  But  now  crime  has 
degraded  me  beneath  the  meanest  animal.  No  guilt,,  no 
mischief,  no  malignity,  no  misery,  can  be  found  comparable 
to  mine.  When  I  run  over  the  frightful  catalogue  of  my 
sins,  I  cannot  believe  that  I  am  the  same  creature  whose 
thoughts  were  once  filled  with  sublime  and  transcendent 
visions  of  the  beauty  and  the  majesty  of  goodness.  But  it 
is  even  so;  the  fallen  angel  becomes  a  malignant  devil. 
Yet  even  that  enemy  of  God  and  man  had  friends  and  asso- 
ciates in  his  desolation ;  I  am  alone. 

"  You,  who  call  Frankenstein  your  friend,  seem  to  have 
a  knowledge  of  my  crimes  and  his  misfortunes.  But,  in 
the  detail  which  he  gave  you  of  them,  he  could  not  sum  up 
the  hours  and  months  of  misery  which  I  endured,  wasting 
in  impotent  passions.  For  while  I  destroyed  his  hopes,  I 
did  not  satisfy  my  own  desires.  They  were  for  ever  ardent 
and  craving ;  still  I  desired  love  and  fellowship,  and  I 
was  still  spurned.  Was  there  no  injustice  in  this  ?  Am 
I  to  be  thought  the  only  criminal,  when  all  human  kind 
sinned  against  me?  Why  do  you  not  hate  Felix,  who 
drove  his  friend  from  his  door  with  contumely  ?  Why  do 
you  not  execrate  the  rustic  who  sought  to  destroy  the 
saviour  of  his  child  ?  Nay,  these  are  virtuous  and  imma- 
culate beings  !  I,  the  miserable  and  the  abandoned,  am  an 
abortion,  to  be  spurned  at,  and  kicked,  and  trampled  on. 
Even  now  my  blood  boils  at  the  recollection  of  this 
injustice. 

"  But  it  is  true  that  I  am  a  wretch.  I  have  murdered 
the  lovely  and  the  helpless  ;  I  have  strangled  the  innocent 
as  they  slept,  and  grasped  to  death  his  throat  who  never 
injured  me  or  any  other  living  thing.  I  have  devoted  my 
creator,  the  select  specimen  of  all  that  is  worthy  of  love 
and  admiration  among  men,  to  misery  ;  I  have  pursued 
him  even  to  that  irremediable  ruin.  There  he  lies,  white 
and  cold  in  death.  You  hate  me;  but  your  abhorrence 
cannot  equal  that  with  which  I  regard  myself.  I  look  on 
the  hands  which  executed  the  deed ;  I  think  on  the  heart 
in  which  the  imagination  of  it  was  conceived,  and  long  for 


THE    MODERN    PROMETHEUS.  201 

the  moment  when  these  hands  will  meet  my  eyes,  when 
that  imagination  will  haunt  my  thoughts  no  more. 

"  Fear  not  that  I  shah1  be  the  instrument  of  future  mis- 
chief. My  work  is  nearly  complete.  Neither  yours  nor 
any  man's  death  is  needed  to  consummate  the  series  of  my 
being,  and  accomplish  that  which  must  be  done ;  but  it 
requires  my  own.  Do  not  think  that  I  shall  be  slow  to 
perform  this  sacrifice.  I  shall  quit  your  vessel  on  the  ice- 
raft  which  brought  me  thither,  and  shall  seek  the  most 
northern  extremity  of  the  globe  ;  I  shall  collect  my  funeral 
pile,  and  consume  to  ashes  this  miserable  frame,  that  its 
remains  may  afford  no  light  to  any  curious  and  unhallowed 
wretch,  who  would  create  such  another  as  I  have  been.  I 
shall  die.  I  shall  no  longer  feel  the  agonies  which  now  consume 
me,  or  be  the  prey  of  feelings  unsatisfied,  yetun  quenched.  He 
is  dead  who  called  me  into  being ;  and  when  I  shall  be  no 
more,  the  very  remembrance  of  us  both  will  speedily  vanish. 
I  shall  no  longer  see  the  sun  or  stars,  or  feel  the  winds  play 
on  my  cheeks.  Light,  feeling,  and  sense  will  pass  away ; 
and  in  this  condition  must  I  find  my  happiness.  Some 
years  ago,  when  the  images  which  this  world  affords  first 
opened  upon  me,  when  I  felt  the  cheering  warmth  of  sum- 
mer, and  heard  the  rustling  of  the  leaves  and  the  warbling 
of  the  birds,  and  these  were  all  to  me,  I  should  have  wept 
to  die  j  now  it  is  my  only  consolation.  Polluted  by  crimes, 
and  torn  by  the  bitterest  remorse,  where  can  I  find  rest  but 
in  death  ? 

"  Farewell !  I  leave  you,  and  in  you  the  last  of  human 
kind  whom  these  eyes  will  ever  behold.  Farewell,  Frank- 
enstein !  If  thou  wert  yet  alive,  and  yet  cherished  a  desire 
of  revenge  against  me,  it  would  be  better  satiated  in  my 
life  than  in  my  destruction.  But  it  was  not  so;  thou 
didst  seek  my  extinction,  that  I  might  not  cause  greater 
wretchedness ;  and  if  yet,  in  some  mode  unknown  to  me, 
thou  hadst  not  ceased  to  think  and  feel,  thou  wouldst  not 
desire  against  me  a  vengeance  greater  than  that  which  I 
feel.  Blasted  as  thou  wert,  my  agony  was  still  superior  to 
thine ;  for  the  bitter  sting  of  remorse  will  not  cease  to  rankle 
in  my  wounds  until  death  shall  close  them  for  ever. 


202  FRANKENSTEIN. 

ff  But  soon,"  he  cried,  with  sad  and  solemn  enthusiasm, 
"  I  shall  die,  and  what  I  now  feel  be  no  longer  felt.  Soon 
these  burning  miseries  will  be  extinct.  I  shall  ascend  my 
funeral  pile  triumphantly,  and  exult  in  the  agony  of  the 
torturing  flames.  The  light  of  that  conflagration  will  fade 
away ;  my  ashes  will  be  swept  into  the  sea  by  the  winds. 
My  spirit  will  sleep  in  peace ;  or  if  it  thinks,  it  will  not 
surely  think  thus.  Farewell." 

He  sprung  from  the  cabin-window,  as  he  said  this,  upon 
the  ice-raft  which  lay  close  to  the  vessel.  He  was  soon  borne 
away  by  the  waves,  and  lost  in  darkness  and  distance. 


THE    END. 


LONDON: 

Printed  by  A.  &  R.  Spottiswoode, 
New-Street- Square, 


THE 

GHOST-SEEB. 


THE 


G  H  O  S  T-S  E  E  R! 


FROM  THE  GERMAN 


OF 


SCHILLER. 


IN    TWO    VOLUMES. 

VOL.  I. 


LONDON: 
HENRY   COLBURN  AND  RICHARD  BENTLEY, 

NEW   BURLINGTON   STREET; 

BELL  AND  BRADFUTE,  EDINBURGH; 

AND  GUMMING,  DUBLIN. 

1831. 


Presented  to  the 
LIBRARY  of  the 

UNIVERSITY  OF  TORONTO 

by 

Mrs .  Andre-w  Kellogg 


INTRODUCTION. 


-    LIFE  AND  WRITINGS  OF  SCHILLER. 

"  FREDERICK  SCHILLER  was  the  son  of  an  officer  in  the 
Bavarian  army,  who  subsequently  attained  the  rank  of 
major,  and  served  in  the  campaigns  for  the  disputed  suc- 
cession. Frederick  was  born  at  Marbach,  a  little  town  in 
Wurtemburgh,  on  the  10th  day  of  November,  1759,  and 
was  finally  bred  to  the  surgical  profession.  His  early 
education  was  not  very  favourable  for  the  developement  of 
those  great  powers  which  he  afterwards  discovered,  and 
which  burst  forth  with  sudden  and  impetuous  vigour  at  the 
age  of  nineteen,  as  if  indignant  at  the  scholastic  discipline 
and  restraints  which  had  been  imposed  upon  them.  Schiller 
pursued  his  studies  at  the  public  seminary  of  Ludwigsburg, 
and  for  several  years  he  went  through  the  regular  examin- 
ations preparatory  to  the  clerical  profession.  As  he  grew 
older,  however,  he  performed  his  tasks  with  less  docility 
and  alacrity;  he  imbibed  no  very  deep  regard  for  the 
classics  as  they  were  there  inculcated ;  while  the  scholastic 
forms  and  regulations  proved  still  more  irksome  to  him. 
Even  at  that  early  age,  he  began  to  discover  the  peculiar 
bias  of  his  genius :  he  was  fond  of  walking,  reading,  and 
studying  alone  ;  he  sought  Nature  in  her  loneliest  scenes  ; 
and  would  stand  gazing  on  the  heavens,  or  watching  the 
progress  of  the  storm.  He  continued  at  this  seminary 
upwards  of  six  years ;  the  most  irksome  and  unprofitable, 
according  to  his  own  admission,  that  he  ever  spent.  He 
was  compelled  to  drudge  through  all  the  preliminary  forms 
and  examinations,  indiscriminately  insisted  upon  in  the 
Stutgard  system,  under  the  patronage  and  dictation  of  the 
A  2 


4  INTRODUCTION. 

reigning  Duke.  In  this  wretched  servitude  he  went  through 
a  course  of  legal  study,  which  he  was  only  permitted  to 
relinquish  in  favour  of  that  of  medicine,  to  which  he  was 
little  more  adapted  or  attached.  Instead  of  taking  down 
notes  of  the  lectures,  he  was  secretly  perusing  Shakspeare ; 
and  procured  small  editions  of  Klopstock,  Herder,  Goethe, 
Garve,  and  Lessing,  the  father  of  the  modern  drama  of 
Germany.  Early  inspired  by  a  perusal  of  them,  he  pro- 
duced an  epic  poem,  like  our  own  Pope,  at  the  age  of  four- 
teen ;  which  he  as  judiciously,  however,  destroyed. 

<l  In  his  second  effort,  he  at  once  assumed  a  high  rank 
as  one  of  the  popular  dramatists  of  the  country.  This  was 
his  tragedy  of  '  The  Robbers,'  composed  at  the  age  of 
nineteen ;  and  almost  appallingly  impressed  with  the  most 
striking  characteristics  of  a  daring,  enthusiastic,  and  impa- 
tient spirit.  Wild  and  extravagant  as  it  must  be  allowed 
to  be,  it  was  the  production,  so  to  say,  of  a  future  great 
writer — the  luxurious  promise  of  a  glorious  harvest — the 
struggle  of  a  lofty  mind  at  issue  with  its  destiny,  exhibiting 
the  whole  of  its  gigantic,  but  untutored  strength.  The  re- 
putation obtained  by  this,  and  two  subsequent  pieces — 
'  The  Conspiracy  of  Fiesco/  and  '  Intrigue  and  Love,'— 
soon  brought  Schiller  advantageous  offers  from  the  theatre 
of  Manheim,  one  of  the  best  conducted  in  Germany. 
During  his  engagement  here,  he  projected  a  translation  of 
Shakspeare's  plays,  though  the  tragedy  of  Macbeth  was  the 
only  one  which  he  presented  to  his  countrymen  in  a  new 
dress  ;  but  he  judiciously  abandoned  the  undertaking,  and 
entered  upon  the  subject  of  Don  Carlos,  which  he  borrowed 
from  the  French  of  the  Abbe  St.  Real.  At  the  same  period 
he  was  engaged  in  a  variety  of  minor  works ;  one  of  which 
was  a  theatrical  journal,  in  which  several  scenes  of  his 
'  Don  Carlos'  first  made  their  appearance.  Dramatic  essays 
and  poetical  effusions,  published  in  the  same  journal,  like- 
wise occupied  much  of  his  time.  Though  commenced  in 
his  twenty-fifth  year,  this  tragedy  was  not  completed  until 
long  afterwards ;  nor  did  it  appear  entire  until  1 794,  when 
he  was  more  than  thirty-five  years  of  age.  Nearly  at  the 
same  time  he  began  his  series  of  '  Philosophical  Letters,' 
which,  throughout,  display  singular  ardour  and  boldness  of 


INTRODUCTION.  £ 

enquiry  on  a  great  diversity  of  topics.  Schiller  now  became 
one  of  the  most  popular  writers  of  his  age,  and  he  daily 
received  gratifying  proofs  of  it,  both  of  a  public  and  private 
kind.  He  himself  relates  one  which  he  considered  the 
most  pleasing  of  all — a  present  of  two  beautiful  miniature 
portraits  from  the  fair  originals,  accompanied  by  a  very 
elegant  pocket-book,  and  letters  filled  with  the  most  flatter- 
ing compliments  to  his  genius. 

fc  Upon  closing  his  engagements  at  Manheim,  Schiller 
took  up  his  residence  at  Leipsic,  where  he  became  acquainted 
with  a  number  of  eminent  contemporaries,  among  whom 
were  Professor  Huber,  Zollikofer,  Hiller,  Oeser,  and  the 
celebrated  actor  Reinike.  Soon  after  his  arrival,  finding 
himself  somewhat  disappointed  in  the  extent  of  his  literary 
views,  he  had  serious  intentions  of  adopting  the  medical 
profession,  to  which  his  final  academic  studies  had  been 
directed ;  but  this  idea  was  again  abandoned,  and  he  re- 
sumed his  literary  occupations  with  increased  ardour  and 
activity.  Though  ranking  among  the  chief  ornaments  of  his 
country  as  a  poet  and  a  dramatist,  he  still  sighed  for  fresh 
fields  of  enterprise,  for  which  he  was  every  way  qualified, 
and  in  which  he  ultimately  gathered  more  brilliant  and  un- 
fading laurels.  At  no  period  did  he  produce  more  important 
works,  than  during  his  residence  at  Dresden.  It  was  there 
he  first  began  to  devote  his  nights,  as  well  as  a  large  portion 
of  the  day,  to  intellectual  labour,  —  a  habit  which  no  consti- 
tution could  long  withstand.  Besides  the  interruptions  he 
was  so  frequently  liable  to  in  the  day,  he  was  fond  of 
spending  his  mornings  in  the  woods,  or  upon  the  banks  of 
the  Elbe;  sometimes  sailing  upon  its  bosom;  sometimes 
wandering,  with  a  book,  in  its  solitary  vicinity.  He  spent 
a  portion  of  the  evening  in  society ;  and  then  came  the 
baneful  night,  invariably  set  apart  for  the  most  difficult 
and  abstracted  pursuits.  It  was  thus  he  most  probably  laid 
the  foundation  of  his  subsequent  maladies,  and  his  premature 
decease.  About  the  year  1787,  he  visited  Weimar,  in  order 
to  cultivate  a  personal  acquaintance  with  some  of  his  most 
celebrated  contemporaries.  He  was  there  introduced  to 
Wieland,  already  advanced  in  years,  and  to  Herder ;  and 
was  the  warm  reception  he  met  with,  that  he  declared 
A  3 


6'  INTRODUCTION. 

his  intention  of  fixing  his  residence  at  Weimar,  then  con- 
spicuous for  the  numher  of  its  distinguished  writers. 
Goethe  was  next  added  to  the  list  of  his  acquaintance ;  but 
not,  during  some  period  at  least,  to  that  of  his  friends. 
Men  of  totally  opposite  minds  and  character,  in  a  literary 
view,  their  first  meeting  is  described  as  having  been  some- 
what singular ;  by  no  means  cordial  and  pleasing.  Schiller 
being  much  younger,  and  of  a  reserved  temper,  was  rather 
surprised,  than  attracted,  by  the  perfect  ease  and  openness, 
the  versatility  and  extent  of  information,  which  Goethe's 
conversation  exhibited ;  and  declared,  after  the  interview, 
that  he  and  Goethe  were  cast  in  different  moulds,  that  they 
lived  in  different  worlds,  and  that  it  was  almost  impossible 
for  them  ever  to  understand,  or  become  ultimately  acquainted 
with  each  other.  f  Time,  however,'  he  concluded,  '  will 
try/  It  is  gratifying  to  add,  that  they  subsequently  grew 
sincerely  attached  to  each  other,  assisted  in  the  same  under- 
takings, and  for  some  period,  resided  with  each  other.  On 
Schiller's  removal  to  Jena,  where  he  succeeded  Eichhorn  in 
the  professorship  of  history,  he  entered  into  a  matrimonial 
connection  with  a  lady  of  the  name  of  Lengefeld,  to  whom 
he  had  some  time  before  been  attached.  In  a  letter  to  one 
of  his  friends,  he  thus  alludes  to  the  event,  many  months 
afterwards:  — f  How  different  does  life  now  begin  to  ap- 
pear, seated  at  the  side  of  a  beloved  wife,  instead  of  being 
forsaken  and  alone,  as  I  have  so  long  been  ! ' 

"  During  his  professorship,  Schiller  entered  upon  his 
history  of  the  Thirty  Years'  War,  a  work  which  appeared 
in  1791-  This  is  universally  admitted  to  be  his  chief 
historical  performance,  no  less  in  Germany  than  in  other 
countries.  A  just  comparison,  however,  can  scarcely  be 
instituted,  his  previous  work  upon  the  Netherlands  having 
unfortunately  never  been  carried  to  a  conclusion.  In  the 
year  HQl,  he  suffered  a  very  severe  attack  upon  his  lungs, 
from  which  he  with  difficulty  recovered,  after  it  had  greatly 
shattered  his  constitution.  Still,  with  returning  strength, 
he  resumed  his  labours  with  equal  ardour,  and  was  never 
heard  to  utter  a  complaint.  It  was  on  his  recovery,  that 
Schiller,  for  the  first  time,  studied  the  new  Kantean  doc- 


INTRODUCTION.  7 

trine,  though  it  does  not  appear  how  far  he  proceeded  through 
the  labyrinths  of  the  transcendental  terminology. 

"  A  number  of  productions,  amongst  which  ranks  the 
most  finished  specimen  of  his  dramatic  labours, '  Wallenstein/ 
followed  his  partial  restoration  to  health.  But  the  ardour 
and  impetuosity  with  which  he  composed,  and  which  was 
become  too  habitual  to  him  for  restraint,  more  especially  in 
his  lyric  pieces,  and  his  tragedies,  brought  on  a  dangerous 
relapse/  All  human  aid,  and  human  hope,  proved  alike  in 
vain;  and  on  the  9th  day  of  May,  1805,  his  disorder 
reached  its  crisis,  and  Schiller,  only  in  his  forty-sixth  year, 
had  but  a  few  hours  to  live. 

"  Early  that  morning  he  grew  delirious ;  but  soon  this 
was  observed  gradually  to  subside,  and  he  appeared  to  be 
settling  into  a  deep  slumber.  In  this  state,  after  continuing 
during  several  hours,  he  awoke  about  four  o'clock  in  the 
afternoon,  with  entire  composure,  and  a  perfect  conscious- 
ness of  his  situation.  His  manner  was  firm  and  tranquil : 
he  took  a  tender  farewell  of  his  friends  and  family ;  and  on 
being  asked  how  he  felt,  he  replied,  s  Only  calmer  and 
calmer.'  He  once  spoke  with  a  happy  and  lively  air ; 
'  Many  things  are  now  becoming  clearer  and  clearer  to 
me  !'  Soon  afterwards  he  relapsed  into  deep  sleep,  be- 
came more  and  more  insensible,  though  still  calm,,  and  in 
that  state  he  almost  imperceptibly  expired. 

f{  Schiller  wrote  but  few  prose  fictions,  though  these  few 
are  enough  to  display  the  great  powers  he  possessed.  The 
'  Geisterseher/  of  which  the  following  is  a  translation,  is  the 
most  important  and  most  striking  of  its  kind."  * 

This  singular  romance  was  written  in  Dresden,  in  which 
town  Schiller  became  enamoured  of  a  beautiful  lady,  who 
has  been  designated  by  some  of  his  biographers  as  ' '  Fraulein 

A ."  The  intercourse  which  subsisted  between  the 

poet  and  his  charmer  appears  not  to  have  been  of  the  most 
reputable  kind ;  but  it  is  certain  that,  for  a  time,  she  held 
exclusive  possession  of  his  heart,  and  that  she  even  in- 
fluenced his  writings.  She  was  the  original  of  the  Princess 
Eboli,  in  his  play  of  Don  Carlos ;  and  it  is  probable  that 
his  passion  for  her  might  have  suggested  that  important 

*  Roscoe's  German  Novelists,  vol.  iii 
A    4 


8  INTRODUCTION. 

part  of  his  story  of  "the  Ghost-Seer"  which  delineates 
the  mad  love  entertained  by  the  Prince,  for  the  lady  whose 
fascinations  first  enthralled  him,  as  he  saw  her  under  the 
rays  of  the  setting  sun,  praying  in  the  evening  solitude  of 
the  church  in  Venice.  During  his  residence  in  Dresden, 
and  whilst  under  the  intoxicating  influence  just  mentioned, 
Schiller's  mind  might  well  be  supposed  to  have  been  in  an 
unsettled  state ;  but,  though  unguided  by  any  determinate 
and  wholesome  purpose,  it  ( '  hovered  among  a  multitude  of 
vast  plans,"  and  was  on  the  watch  for  any  object  that 
might  give  consistency  to  his  views.  (<  The  Ghost-Seer" 
is  the  first  product  arising  out  of  this  mental  fermentation. 
Its  origin  may  be  traced  to  the  tricks  of  a  certain  Count 
Cagliostro,  the  prince  of  quacks,  whose  juggleries  were, 
about  that  time,  turning  the  heads  of  the  good  people  at 
Paris,  who  paid  their  money  lavishly,  in  order  to  be  ter- 
rified, and  to  ft  snatch  a  fearful  joy." 

"  The  Ghost-Seer"  is  unquestionably  one  of  the  "  curi- 
osities of  literature."  It  is  alone  of  its  kind ;  and,  perhaps, 
there  is  no  work  in  the  circle  of  romance,  in  which  the 
reader  is  so  irresistibly  impelled  through  the  pages ;  or 
wherein  his  longing  is  more  acutely  excited  for  a  solution 
of  the  mystery  of  the  plot.  The  agency,  supernatural  as  it 
seems,  is,  however,  all  the  effect  of  imposture  and  extensive 
confederacy ;  though  even  a  knowledge  of  this,  in  which 
the  reader  is  made  to  participate  early  in  the  story,  does 
not  abate  his  wonder  at  the  incidents,  or  lessen  the  interest 
he  takes  in  the  characters.  If  any  objection  may  be  made 
to  the  scheme  of  the  tale,  it  might  be  said  that  it  is  too  in- 
tricate; that  the  conspiracy  against  the  Prince,  and  the 
counter-conspiracy  to  save  him,  perplex  the  attention  of 
him  who  would  trace  the  windings  of  the  labyrinth.  Still, 
who  does  not  feel  a  keen  sympathy  in  the  bewilderment  of  the 
amiable  but  feeble-minded  victim  of  the  conspirators?  Who 
does  not  participate  in  the  honest  wishes  of  the  two  Eng- 
lishmen, who  strive  to  protect  him  from  snares  such  as  never 
before  were  spread  for  the  ruin  of  a  human  being  ?  Who 
can  look  without  awe  at  the  inscrutable  Armenian,  or  con- 
template, unless  with  a  heart-thrill,  the  terrific  agency  which 
his  cunning  and  his  science  are  able  to  evoke  ? 

O.  C. 


THE 


GHOST-SEER 


Narrative  of  the  Count  O . 

I  AM  about  to  relate  an  occurrence,  which,  to  many  persons, 
will  appear  incredible,,  yet  to  which  I  was  myself,  in  great 
part,  an  eye-witness.  The  few  who  are  acquainted  with  a 
certain  political  occurrence,  will  (if  these  leaves  should  find 
them  alive)  have  a  perfect  key  to  the  publication;  but  without 
this  key,  it  will  be  looked  upon  as  an  addition  to  the  history 
of  deceit  and  artifice  so  often  imposed  upon  mankind.  The 
boldness  of  the  undertaking,  which  malice  was  able  to  con. 
jecture  and  to  pursue,  must  excite  astonishment;  while 
the  singularity  of  the  means  employed,  is  calculated  to 
create  no  less  surprise.  Genuine,  bold  truth,  will  conduct 
my  pen ;  for  when  these  leaves  go  into  the  world,  I  shall 
probably  be  no  more,  and  shall  never  experience  the  credi 
with  which  they  are  received. 

It  was  on  my  return  to  Courland,  in  the  year  17— •> 
about  the  time  of  the  Carnival,  that  I  paid  a  visit  to  the 
Prince  of  W  in  Venice.  We  had  known  each  other 
in  the  P  military  service,  and  renewed  here  an  ac 

quaintance  which  peace  had  interrupted.  As  I  wished  to 
see  the  remarkable  city  of  Venice,  the  Prince  easily  per- 
suaded me  to  bear  him  company,  and  to  delay  my  departure 
from  hence  until  his  remittances,  which  were  expected  every 
day,  arrived.  We  agreed  to  live  together  as  long  as  our 
stay  at  Venice  should  last,  and  the  Prince  was  so  kind  as  to 
offer  to  share  his  habitation  with  me  at  the  Moor  Hotel. 


10  THE    GHOST-SEER. 

He  lived  in  disguise,  because  he  wished  to  enjoy  himself, 
and  his  little  income  did  not  permit  him  to  maintain  the 
dignity  of  his  rank.  Two  cavaliers,  upon  whose  secrecy 
he  could  entirely  rely,  composed  (besides  some  trusty  ser- 
vants) his  whole  household.  He  shunned  expense  more 
from  temperance  than  economy.  He  fled  from  diversions 
of  all  kinds ;  and  at  the  age  of  thirty-five  years,  it  may  be 
said,  that  he  had  resisted  all  the  charms  of  that  voluptuous 
city.  The  fair  sex  was  not  regarded  by  him  :  gravity,  and 
an  almost  profound  melancholy,  overshadowed  his  mind. 
His  passions  were  still,  but  obstinate  to  excess  ;  his  choice 
slow  and  fearful ;  his  attachment  warm  and  lasting.  Locked 
up  in  his  own  visionary  ideas,  he  often  was  a  stranger  to 
the  world  about  him  ;  arid,  conscious  of  his  own  deficiency 
in  the  knowledge  of  mankind,  he  very  seldom  observed  that 
line  of  conduct  which  influences  those  who  are  wary  and 
suspicious.  No  one,  perhaps,  was  more  exposed  than  he, 
to  suffer  himself  to  be  influenced  and  commanded  by  the 
opinion  of  others.  No  one  was  more  liable  to  mental 
weakness;  but  as  soon  as  he  was  once  convinced,  he  possessed 
equal  courage  to  combat  an  acknowledged  prejudice,  and  to 
die  for  a  new  one.  As  the  third  prince  of  his  house,  he  could 
not  have  any  views  for  the  sovereignty;  his  ambition,  there- 
fore, on  that  point,  was  never  awakened :  his  passion  had 
taken  quite  another  direction.  Conscious  of  his  own  aversion 
to  being  governed  by  the  opinion  of  others,  he  never  forced 
his  own  upon  any  person  as  a  law.  The  peaceable  paths 
of  solitude,  and  a  private  life,  were  the  summit  of  his 
wishes.  He  read  much,  but  without  selection.  A  narrow 
education,  together  with  being  initiated  into  the  military 
service  early  in  life,  served  to  check  all  application  to  the 
study  of  literature ;  all  the  knowledge  which  he  afterward, 
acquired  added  but  little  to  his  ideas.  He  was  a  Protestants 
as  all  his  family  had  been,  by  birth,  not  by  enquiry,  which 
he  never  attempted,  though  he  was,  in  a  certain  epoch  of 
his  life,  an  enthusiast ;  he  never,  to  my  knowledge,  became 
a  free-mason. 

One  evening  we,  as  usual,  took  a  walk  by  ourselves, 
very  well  masked,  upon  St.  Mark's  Place.  As  it  grew  late, 
and  the  people  were  dispersing,  the  Prince  observed  that  a 


THE    GHOST-SEER.  11 

mask  followed  us  every  where.  The  mask  was  an  Arme- 
nian,, and  walked  alone.  We  doubled  our  steps,  and  sought 
by  striking  into  different  turns  of  our  road  to  lose  him,  but 
in  vain.,  for  he  always  remained  close  behind  us. 

ff  You  have  not  had,  I  hope,  any  intrigue  here  ?  "  said 
the  Prince  at  last  to  me.  tf  The  husbands  at  Venice  are 
very  dangerous."  "  I  know  not  one  lady,"  I  replied. 
"  Let  us  sit  down  here,  and  speak  German,"  he  continued : 
' '  I  imagine  they  mistake  us  for  some  other  persons."  We 
sat  down  upon  a  stone  bench,  and  expected  that  the  mask 
would  pass  by.  He  came  straight  towards  us,  and  took  his 
seat  very  close  by  the  side  of  the  Prince ;  who  drew  out  his 
watch,  and  said  rather  loud,  in  French,  rising  at  the  same 
time  from  his  seat,  "Nine — come!  we  forget  that  they 
wait  for  us  at  the  Louvre."  This  was  only  a  pretence  to 
deceive  the  mask  as  to  our  route.  "Nine !"  repeated  the 
mask  in  the  same  language,  very  expressively  and  slowly. 
"  Wish  yourself  joy,  Prince  (whilst  he  called  him  by  his 
right  name) ;  at  nine  o'clock  he  died"  With  this  he  rose, 
and  went  away :  we  looked  at  one  another  very  much 
amazed.  "  Who  is  dead  ? "  said  the  Prince,  after  a  long 
silence.  "  Let  us  follow  him,"  said  I,  "  and  request  an 
explanation." 

We  hurried  through  all  the  by-ways  of  St.  Mark,  but 
the  mask  was  not  to  be  found.  Chagrined  at  our  bad 
success,  we  proceeded  to  our  hotel.  The  Prince  spoke  not 
a  word  in  our  way  home,  but  walked  apart  from  me,  ap. 
parently  in  deep  reflection,  and  greatly  agitated,  as  he 
afterwards  confessed  to  me.  When  we  got  home,  assum- 
ing an  air  of  gaiety  —  "  It  is  indeed  laughable,"  said  he, 
t(  that  a  madman  should  thus  be  able  to  disturb  the  tran- 
quillity of  a  person's  mind  by  a  couple  of  words." 

We  wished  each  other  a  good  night ;  and  as  soon  as  I 
was  in  my  own  room,  I  noted  in  my  pocket-book  the  day 
and  the  hour  when  this  extraordinary  event  happened  —  it 
was  upon  a  Thursday.  The  following  evening  the  Prince 
said  to  me,  — "  Let  us  take  a  walk  again  to  St.  Mark's 
Place,  and  try  to  discover  this  mysterious  Armenian.  I 
am  very  anxious  to  unravel  this  adventure." 

I  agreed  to  the  proposal,  and  we  remained  till  eleven 


12  THE    GHOST-SEER. 

o'clock  wandering  about  the  place :  the  Armenian  was  no- 
where to  be  seen.  We  repeated  our  visits  the  four  following 
evenings,  and  each  time  with  the  same  bad  success.  The 
sixth  evening,  when  we  left  our  hotel,  I  had  the  foresight 
to  tell  the  servants  where  we  might  be  found,  if  there  should 
be  any  enquiry  after  us.  The  Prince  observed  this,  and 
praised  my  attention  with  a  smiling  countenance.  There 
was  a  great  crowd  upon  St.  Mark's  Place  when  we  arrived 
there ;  and  we  scarcely  had  gone  thirty  steps,  when  I 
observed  the  Armenian,  who  pushed  himself  through  the 
crowd  in  great  haste,  and  seemed  to  be  in  the  act  of 
searching  for  somebody.  We  were  just  upon  the  point  of 

reaching  him,  when  the  Baron  F ,  one  of  the  Prince's 

companions,  came  breathless  towards  us,  and  delivered  a 
letter  to  the  Prince. 

fe  It  is  sealed  black,"  said  he  ;  and  we  thought  that  it 
might  contain  intelligence  of  great  consequence.  It 
struck  me  like  a  thunderbolt.  The  Prince  went  to  a  lamp, 
and  began  to  read  the  contents.  ef  My  cousin  is  dead," 
he  cried.  ' '  When  ? "  said  I,  interrupting  him  hastily. 
He  once  more  read  the  letter.  "  Last  Thursday,  at  nine 
o'clock  in  the  evening."  We  scarcely  had  time  to  recover 
ourselves  from  our  surprise,  when  the  Armenian  appeared. 
"  You  are  known  here,  gracious  Sire,"  said  he  to  the 
Prince.  (*  Hasten  to  the  Moor  :  you'll  find  there  am- 
bassadors from  the  Senate,  and  do  not  hesitate  to  accept 

the  honour  which  they  will  offer  you.  The  Baron  F 

forgot  to  tell  you  that  your  remittances  are  arrived." 

He  left  us  precipitately,  and  mingled  with  the  crowd. 
We  hastened  to  our  hotel,  and  found  every  thing  as  the 
Armenian  had  announced  to  us.  Three  noblemen  of  the 
Republic  were  there  ready  to  receive  the  Prince,  and  to 
conduct  him  with  splendour  to  the  assembly,  where  the 
first  nobility  of  the  city  expected  him.  He  had  just  time 
enough  to  let  me  understand,  by  a  slight  hint,  that  he 
wished  me  to  sit  up  for  him.  About  eleven  o'clock  at 
night  he  returned.  He  came  into  the  room  serious  and 
thoughtful ;  and,  after  having  dismissed  the  servants,  he 
seized  me  by  the  hand.  "  Count,"  he  said,  in  the  words 
of  Hamlet,  "  there  are  more  things  in  heaven  and  earth 


THE    GHOST-SEER.  13 

than  are  dreamt  of  in  our  philosophy."  "  Gracious  Sir/' 
I  replied,,  "  you  seem  to  forget  that  you  are  enriched  with 
the  prospect  of  a  sovereignty."*  "  Do  not  remind  me  of 
that,"  said  the  Prince ;  <f  I  have  something  of  greater  im- 
portance to  me  than  a  crown  that  now  claims  my  attention, 
if  that  Armenian  has  not  been  at  guess-work."  "  How  is 
that  possible.  Prince  ? "  I  replied.  "  Then  will  I  resign 
all  my  princely  hope  for  the  habit  of  a  monk." 

The  following  evening  we  went  together  earlier  to  the 
market-place.  A  heavy  shower  of  rain  obliged  us  to  take 
shelter  in  a  coffee-house,  where  we  observed  a  number  of 
persons  at  a  gaming-table.  The  Prince  placed  himself  be- 
hind the  chair  of  a  Spaniard  to  see  the  game  played,  whilst 
I  went  into  an  adjoining  room  to  read  the  papers.  A  little 
time  afterwards  I  heard  a  noise.  Before  the  arrival  of  the 
Prince,  the  Spaniard  universally  lost ;  but  since  he  entered, 
the  latter  won  upon  every  card.  The  whole  game  was 
totally  changed,  and  the  bank  was  in  danger  of  being 
broken  by  the  man  whom  this  lucky  reverse  of  fortune 
had  made  bolder.  The  Venetian,  who  kept  it,  said  to  the 
Prince  in  a  surly  tone,  —  "  You  have  changed  the  luck, 
and  shall  quit  the  table."  The  Prince  looked  at  him 
coolly,  without  giving  him  an  answer,  and  kept  his  place  ; 
but  the  Venetian  repeated  his  command  in  French.  The 
latter  thought  that  the  Prince  did  not  understand  either 
language ;  and,  addressing  himself  to  the  company  with  a 
sneering  grin  —  "  Tell  me,  gentlemen,"  said  he,  "  how  I 
shall  make  myself  understood  by  this  fool  ?"  Hereupon 
he  stood  up,  and  would  have  struck  the  Prince ;  but  the 
Prince's  patience  forsaking  him,  he  did  not  wait  for  the  at- 
tack, but  seized  the  Venetian  by  the  throat,  and  dashed  him 
with  violence  on  the  ground.  This  circumstance  threw  the 
whole  house  into  confusion.  Upon  hearing  the  uproar,  I 
ran  into  the  room,  and  unguardedly  called  him  by  his 
name.  "  Take  care,  Prince,"  said  I,  incautiously ;  "  we 
are  in  Venice  !" 

*  The  deceased  was  the  hereditary  Prince,  the  only  son  of  the  reigning , 

who  was  in  years,  very  sickly,  and  without  the  least  prospect  of  having  an  heir 
to  his  dominions.  An  uncle  of  our  Prince,  almost  in  the  same  situation,  now 
alone  stood  between  him  and  the  throne.  I  am  obliged  to  mention  this  cir. 
cumstancc,  as  the  subject  will  be  treated  of  in  the  work. 

CEHMAtf  EDITOR. 


THE    GHOST-SEER. 

The  name  of  the  Prince  excited  an  universal  silence,  and 
soon  after  a  confused  murmur  ran  through  the  assembly, 
which  appeared  to  me  to  have  a  dangerous  tendency.  The 
Italians  present  crowded  round  each  other,  and  walked 
aside.  They  soon  quitted  the  room,  one  after  the  other, 
and  we  found  ourselves  left  only  with  the  Spaniard  and 
several  Frenchmen.  "  You  are  lost,  gracious  Sir,"  said  a 
Frenchman,  "  if  you  do  not  leave  the  city  directly.  The 
Venetian,  whom  you  have  handled  so  roughly,  is  rich  enough 
to  hire  a  bravo ;  —  it  will  only  cost  him  fifty  sequins  to  be 
revenged  by  your  death." 

The  Spaniard,  in  concert  with  the  Frenchmen,  offered  to 
conduct  the  Prince  with  safety  to  his  house.  We  were 
standing  thus  consulting  what  was  best  to  be  done,  when 
the  door  of  the  room  was  suddenly  opened,  and  several  offi- 
cers of  the  State  Inquisition  entered.  They  produced  an 
order  from  the  government,  in  which  we  were  both  com- 
manded to  follow  them  immediately.  They  conducted  us 
under  a  strong  escort  to  a  canal,  where  a  boat  waited  for  us. 
We  were  ordered  to  embark ;  but  before  we  quitted  it,  our 
eyes  were  blindfolded  j  and,  upon  our  landing,  we  found 
that  they  led  us  up  a  stone  staircase,  and  then  through 
a  long  winding  passage  over  arches,  as  we  could  discover  by 
the  repeated  echoes  that  sounded  under  our  feet.  We  soon 
arrived  at  another  staircase,  which  in  twenty-six  steps 
brought  us  to  the  bottom.  We  then  heard  a  door  creak 
upon  its  hinges  ;  and  when  they  took  the  bandage  from  our 
eyes,  we  found  ourselves  in  a  spacious  hall,  encircled  by  an 
assembly  of  venerable  old  men.  All  appeared  in  sable 
robes ;  and  the  hall,  hung  with  black  cloth,  was  dimly  lighted 
by  a  few  scattered  tapers.  A  deadly  silence  prevailed 
through  the  assembly,  which  caused  in  us  an  awful  sens- 
ation, too  powerful  to  be  described.  One  of  the  old  men, 
who  appeared  to  be  the  principal  State  Inquisitor,  came  near 
to  the  Prince,  and  spoke  to  him  with  a  solemn  countenance, 
whilst  another  set  before  him  the  Venetian. 

"  Do  you  acknowledge  this  man  to  be  the  same  that  you 
used  so  roughly  in  the  coffee-house  ?  "  "  Yes  ! "  answered 
the  Prince.  Then  turning  to  the  prisoner  —  "  Is  that  the 
person  you  would  bave  assassinated  this  evening  ?  "  The 


THE    GHOST-SEER.  15 

prisoner  answered,  "  Yes."  Immediately  the  judges  opened 
tiie  circle,  and  \ve  saw,  with  the  utmost  horror,  the  head  of 
the  Venetian  separated  from  his  shoulders.  "  Are  you  sa- 
tisfied with  this  sacrifice  ?  "  said  the  State  Inquisitor.  The 
Prince  fainted  in  the  arms  of  his  conductors.  "  Go,"  he 
continued,  with  a  terrible  voice,  as  he  turned  towards  me  ; 
ff  and  think  in  future  more  favourably  of  the  administration 
of  justice  in  Venice." 

We  could  not  learn  who  our  unknown  friend  was, 
who  had  thus  delivered  us,  by  the  arm  of  justice,  from 
the  diabolical  plans  of  the  assassin.  We  reached  our 
habitation  terrified  in  the  extreme.  It  was  midnight. 

The  chamberlain   Z waited   for   us  upon  the  stairs 

with  great  impatience.     "  How  lucky  it  was,"  said  he  to 
the  Prince,  as  he  lighted  us  up  stairs,  "  that  you  sent  the 
messenger  as   you  did;   the  intelligence  from  the  Baron, 
which  was  brought  to  this  house  from  the  market-place,  ex- 
cited in  us  a  dreadful  anxiety  for  your  safety."     "  I  sent  a 
message  ! "  said  the  Prince.     "  When  ?    I  know  nothing  of 
it."     <e  This  evening,  after  eight  o'clock,  a  person  arrived, 
and  said,  we  must  not  be  alarmed  if  you  should  not  return 
until  late  at  night."     Here  the  Prince  said  to  me,  —  "  You, 
perhaps,  without  my  knowledge,  have  taken  this  precaution." 
(f  I  know  nothing  of  it,"  said  I.     "  It  must  certainly  be 
so,   your  Highness,"  said  the  chamberlain ;  "  for  here  is 
your  watch,  which  he  left  with  me  as  a  proof  that  he  had 
been  with  you."     The  Prince  felt  his  pocket  immediately  : 
the  watch  was  actually  gone,  and,  looking  upon  that  which 
the  chamberlain  held  in  his  hand,  he  acknowledged  it  to  be 
his  own.     te  Who  brought  it  ? "  said  he,  with  eagerness. 
"  An  unknown  mask  in  an  Armenian  habit,  who  imme- 
diately went  away."     We  stood  and  looked  at  each  other  in 
silent  horror.     "  What  think  you  of  this  ?  "  said  the  Prince 
at  last,  after  a  long  pause  ;  "  it  is  now  certain  that  I  have  in 
Venice  a  secret  inspector." 

The  frightful  transactions  of  this  night  threw  the  Prince 
into  a  fever,  which  confined  him  to  his  room  for  eight  days. 
During  this  time  our  hotel  was  crowded  with  citizens  and 
strangers,  who  had  lately  learned  the  rank  of  the  Prince. 
They  strove  to  vie  with  each  other  in  showing  civility  to 


16  THE    GHOST-SEER. 

him  ;  and  we  saw  with  pleasure  every  night  how  fast  sus- 
picion was  wearing  away.  Love-letters  and  billets  came 
from  all  quarters.  Every  person  endeavoured  to  make 
himself  useful.  The  whole  proceedings  of  the  State  In- 
quisition were  no  longer  thought  of.  In  the  mean  time, 

the  Court  of did  not  wish  to  hasten  the  departure  of 

the  Prince,  and  therefore  gave  instructions  to  a  rich  banker 
in  Venice  to  furnish  him  with  large  sums  of  money.    Thus 
he  was  put  into  a  condition,  contrary  to  his  inclination,  of 
remaining  longer  in  Italy  ;  and,  agreeably  to  his  wishes,  I 
consented  not  to  hasten  my  departure.     As  soon  as  he  was 
so  far  recovered  as  to  be  able  to  leave  his  chamber,  the 
physician  ordered  him  to  make  an  excursion  upon   the 
Brenta  for  the  benefit  of  the  air.     The  weather  was  fine, 
and  we  soon  made  an  agreeable  party.     Just  as  we  were 
about  to  step  into  the  gondola,  the  Prince  missed  a  key  to 
a  little  box  which  contained  some  valuable  papers.     We 
returned   immediately  to  look  for  it.      He  remembered 
perfectly  to  have  locked  the  box  the  day  before,  and  since 
that  time  he  had  not  quitted  the  room.     But  all  our  efforts 
to  discover  thekey  were  fruitless :  we  therefore  abandoned  the 
search ;  and  the  Prince,  whose  soul  was  above  suspicion, 
gave  it  over  as  lost,  but  requested  me  not  to  take  any  notice 
of  it.     The  voyage  was  delightfully  enchanting ;  the  land- 
scape seemed  to  increase  in  beauty  and  variety  at  every 
turn  of  the  river ;  added  to  this,  a  clear  sky,  which,  in  the 
middle  of  February,  formed  a  May-day.     The  charming 
gardens  that  surrounded  the  elegant  country  houses  which 
every  where  adorned  the  sides  of  the  Brenta,  together  with 
the  majestic  Venice  crowned  with  a  hundred  towers,  as  if 
rising  from  the  water,  offered  us  one  of  the  most  delightful 
prospects  in  the  world.     We  lost  ourselves  entirely  in  the 
beautiful  magic  of  the  scenery  around  us.      Our  spirits 
were  elated  ;  and  even  the  Prince  assumed  an  air  of  gaiety, 
and  joined  with  us  in  our  frolicksome  pleasantry.     Sweet 
music  occupied  our  attention,  when  we  got  to  the  shore 
about  two  Italian  miles  from  the  town.     It  proceeded  from 
a  small  village  where  they  were  holding  a  fair.     Here  every 
art  was  practised  by  the  company.      A  troop  of  young 
maidens  and  children,  dressed  in  a. theatrical  manner,  wel- 


THE    GHOST-SEER.  1? 

corned  us  with  a  pantomimic  dance.  The  invention  was 
new:  nimbleness  and  grace  animated  every  motion.  Before 
the  dance  was  ended,  one  of  them,  who  seemed  to  be  the 
principal  person,  and  who  acted  the  part  of  the  queen,  sud- 
denly stopped,  as  if  restrained  by  an  invisible  power.  She 
stood  still;  all  followed  her  example;  and  the  music  ceased. 
An  universal  silence  prevailed  in  the  whole  assembly,  whilst 
she  remained  with  her  eyes  fixed  upon  the  ground  as  in  a 
profound  trance ;  then  she  became  as  if  inspired,  looked 
wild,  and  cried  in  a  transport  of  joy — "  A  king  is  amongst 
us !" 

She  arose,  took  her  crown  from  her  head,  and  placed  it  at 
the  feet  of  the  Prince.  All  who  were  present  directed  their 
eyes  towards  the  Prince,  who  was  a  long  time  uncertain 
what  could  be  the  meaning  of  this  juggle,  so  well  had 
she  acted  the  monkey  tricks  of  this  farce.  At  length  an 
universal  clapping  of  hands  interrupted  this  silence.  I 
looked  at  the  Prince,  and  perceived  that  he  was  not  a  little 
concerned  and  hurt  to  be  examined  by  the  enquiring  eyes 
of  the  company.  He  distributed  money  to  the  children, 
and  hastened  from  the  crowd.  We  had  not  gone  far,  when 
a  venerable  monk  came  from  the  throng,  and  placed  himself 
in  the  path  we  were  pursuing. 

"  Sir,"  said  the  monk,  "  bestow  some  of  your  money 
upon  Madonna ;  you  will  need  her  prayers." 

He  spoke  this  in  a  tone  which  startled  us — the  crowd, 
however,  soon  separated  him  from  us.  Our  suite  was 
in  the  mean  time  increased.  An  English  lord,  whom  the 
Prince  had  seen  before  at  Nizza,  several  merchants  from 
Leghorn,  a  German  prelate,  a  French  abbe,  with  several 
ladies,  and  a  Russian  officer,  attached  themselves  to  our 
party.  The  physiognomy  of  this  last  had  something  so 
remarkable  about  it,  that  it  attracted  our  attention.  Never 
in  my  life  did  I  see  so  many  traits,  and  so  little  character ; 
so  much  inviting  benevolence,  and  such  forbidding  coldness, 
painted  together  in  one  man's  countenance.  Every  passion 
seemed  to  have  formerly  dwelt  there,  and  to  have  abandoned 
it.  Nothing  remained  but  the  still  piercing  look  of  a  per- 
fect man  of  the  world.  Every  eye  was  fixed  upon  him 

VOL.  I.  B 


18  THE    GHOST-SEER. 

wherever  he  went.  This  stranger  followed  at  a  distance, 
and  seemed  indifferent  to  whatever  was  going  on.  We 
arrived  at  the  booth  where  a  lottery  was  kept :  the  ladies 
bought  tickets — we  followed  their  example,  and  the  Prince 
also  purchased  a  share.  He  won  a  snuff-box  ;  and,  when 
he  opened  it,  I  perceived  him  turn  pale,  and  start  back 
with  the  utmost  surprise — the  little  key  he  had  lost  was  in 
it.  ' '  What  is  this  ?  "  said  he  to  me  when  we  were  alone, 
with  a  fixed  countenance ;  "  an  unknown  power  pursues 
me;  an  all-powerful  being  hovers  over  me;  an  invisible 
agency,  which  I  cannot  flee  from,  watches  over  all  my 
actions.  I  must  seek  the  Armenian,  and  obtain  an  ex- 
planation from  him." 

The  sun  was  setting  as  we  arrived  at  the  pleasure-house 
where  the  supper  was  served  up.  The  name  of  the  Prince 
had  increased  our  party  to  the  number  of  sixteen  persons. 
.Besides  our  former  companions,  a  virtuoso  from  Rome, 
several  Swiss,  and  an  adventurer  from  Palermo,  who  wore 
an  uniform,  and  gave  himself  out  for  a  captain,  insinuated 
themselves  into  our  society.  It  was  agreed  to  spend  the 
whole  evening  here,  and  to  return  home  by  torchlight. 
The  entertainment  at  the  table  was  good,  and  the  con- 
versation very  sprightly  ;  the  Prince  could  not  refrain  from 
relating  the  adventure  of  the  key,  which  excited  a  general 
astonishment.  A  great  dispute  arose  concerning  this  affair : 
—  the  major  part  of  the  company  had  the  temerity  to 
think  all  these  cunning  tricks  depended  upon  witchcraft. 
The  Abbe,  who  had  already  drank  a  sufficient  quantity  of 
wine,  challenged  the  whole  kingdom  of  ghosts  into  the  ring. 
The  Englishman  talked  blasphemy,  while  another  made 
sign  of  the  cross  to  aroint  the  devil.  A  few,  in  the  number 
of  whom  was  the  Prince,  maintained  that  it  was  better  not 
to  give  any  decided  opinion  upon  these  subjects.  During 
this  conversation  the  Russian  officer  entertained  himself 
with  the  ladies,  and  seemed  to  be  perfectly  inattentive  to 
our  discussion.  In  the  height  of  this  dispute,  'no  one 
observed  that  the  Sicilian  had  retired.  A  short  time  after- 
wards he  returned,  clothed  in  a  mantle,  and  placed  himself 
behind  the  chair  of  the  Frenchman. 

"  You  have  had  the  boldness/'  said  he,  "  to  challenge 


THE    GHOST-SEER.  19 

all  the  kingdom  of  ghosts.  —  Will  you  try  one  ?  "  "  Yes  ! " 
said  the  Abbe,,  "  if  you  will  undertake  to  bring  one  before 
me."  "  That  I  will,"  replied  the  Sicilian,  turning  himself 
about,  "  when  these  ladies  and  gentlemen  shall  have  left 
us."  "  Why  so  !"  exclaimed  the  Englishman  ;  "  a  jovial 
ghost  will  enjoy  himself  in  such  good  company."  "  I  will 
not  answer  for  the  consequences/'  said  the  Sicilian.  "  Oh, 
heavens  !"  cried  the  ladies,  and  fled,  terrified,  from  their 
seats.  "  Let  your  ghost  come,"  said  the  Abbe,  daringly, 
"  but  warn  him  beforehand  that  he  will  find  here  sharp- 
pointed  tools  ; "  at  the  same  time  endeavouring  to  bdrrow 
a  sword.  "  You  may  do,  in  that  respect,  as  you  please," 
said  the  Sicilian  coolly,  "  when  you  see  it." 

Here  he  turned  himself  towards  the  Prince.  "  Gracious 
Sir,"  said  he  to  him,  "  you  believe  that  your  key  was  in 
strange  hands  —  can  you  guess  in  whose  ?  "  "  No." 
"  Do  you  suspect  any  body  ? "  "I  had  certainly  a  sus- 
picion." "  Should  you  know  the  person  if  you  were  to  see 
him  ?  "  "  Without  doubt." 

Here  the  Sicilian  put  aside  his  mantle,  and  took  from 
under  it  a  looking-glass,  which  he  held  before  the  eyes  of 
the  Prince.  "  Is  this  the  man  ? "  The  Prince  started 
back  with  the  utmost  terror.  "  What  have  you  seen  ? " 
asked  I.  "  The  Armenian  ! "  The  Sicilian  put  the  glass 
under  his  mantle.  "  Was  that  the  person  you  meant  ?  " 
enquired  the  whole  company.  "  The  very  same." 

Upon  this,  every  countenance  was  changed,  no  one  was 
heard  to  laugh,  and  all  eyes  were  fixed  attentively  upon 
the  Sicilian.  "  Monsieur  Abbe,"  said  the  Englishman, 
"  this  thing  becomes  serious :  I  advise  you  to  think  of 
your  retreat."  "  The  fellow  is  in  league  with  the  devil," 
cried  the  Frenchman,  and  rushed  out  of  the  house.  The 
ladies  ran  shrieking  from  the  hall  —  the  virtuoso  followed 
them  —  the  German  prelate  snored  in  his  chair  —  the 
Russian  remained  sitting  as  if  perfectly  indifferent  to  what 
was  passing. 

"  You  thought,  perhaps,  to  have  excited  a  great  laugh," 
said  the  Prince,  "  against  this  boaster,  if  he  had  not  gone 
out ;  or  did  you  intend  to  have  performed  what  you  pro- 
mised ? "  "  It  is  true,"  said  the  Sicilian,  "  with  the 
B  2 


20  THE    GHOST-SEER. 

Abbe  I  was  not  in  earnest ;  I  took  him  at  his  word,  be- 
cause I  knew  that  the  coward  would  not  suffer  me  to  go 
so  far  as  to  put  it  in  execution.  The  thing  itself  is  of 
too  serious  a  nature  to  make  a  joke  of."  tc  You  maintain, 
then,  that  you  have  it  in  your  power  to  do  what  you  as- 
serted ? "  The  magician  was  silent,  and  seemed  to  be 
studying  the  expressive  countenance  of  the  Prince.  (t  Yes," 
answered  he,  at  length. 

The  curiosity  of  the  Prince  was  already  excited  to  the 
highest  degree,  for  he  had  always  believed  in  supernatural 
beings,  and  this  act  of  the  Armenian  brought  back  to  his 
mind  all  his  former  reflections  on  this  subject,  which 
reason  had  in  some  measure  driven  away.  He  went  aside 
with  the  Sicilian,  and  I  heard  him  conversing  with  him 
very  earnestly.  "  You  have  before  you  a  man,"  con- 
tinued he,  (f  who  burns  with  impatience  for  an  explanation 
of  this  affair.  I  would  esteem  that  man  as  my  benefactor, 
as  my  best  friend,  who  would,  in  this  respect,  remove  my 
doubts,  and  dissipate  the  mist  from  my  eyes.  —  Will  you 
do  me  this  great  service  ? "  ' (  What  do  you  require 
of  me?"  said  the  magician  with  thoughtfulness.  "To 
give  me  immediately  a'  proof  of  your  art ;  let  me  see  an 
apparition."  "  Why  should  I  do  this  ? "  "  That  you 
may  judge,  from  a  nearer  acquaintance,  whether  I  am 
worthy  of  higher  instruction."  e(  I  esteem  you  above 
all  others,  mighty  Prince.  A  secret  power  in  your  coun- 
tenance, which  you  yourself  are  ignorant  of,  bound  me 
at  first  sight  irresistibly  to  you.  You  are  more  powerful 
than  you  are  aware  of.  You  have  an  undoubted  right 
to  command  all  my  power,  but  —  "  "  Then  allow  me  to 
see  an  apparition."  "  I  must  be  first  certain  that  you  do 
not  make  this  request  out  of  curiosity ;  for,  although  the 
supernatural  powers  are  subjected  to  my  will  in  some 
respects,  it  is  under  the  sacred  condition  that  I  do  not 
abuse  my  authority."  ((  My  motives  are  the  purest.  I 
wish  for  an  explanation  of  facts." 

Here  they  left  their  places,  and  approached  to  a  distant 
window,  where  I  could  not  hear  what  was  said.  The 
Englishman,  who  had  also  heard  this  conversation,  took 
me  aside.  <c  Your  prince  has  a  noble  mind,"  said  he ; 


THE    GHOST-SEER.  21 

"  but  I  pity  him,,  for  I  will  bet  my  life  he  has  to  deal 
with  a  sharper."  "  That  will  be  proved/'  said  I,  "  when 
he  comes  to  investigate  this  matter."  "  Let  me  tell  you/' 
said  the  Englishman,  "  that  the  devil  makes  himself  very 
dear.  He  will  not  practise  his  art  without  touching  the 
cash.  There  are  nine  of  us.  We  will  make  a  collection. 
This  will  break  the  neck  of  his  scheme,  and  perhaps  open 
the  eyes  of  the  Prince."  f{  I  am  content,  said  I." 

The  Englishman  immediately  threw  six  guineas  into  a 
plate,  and  gathered  in  the  ring.  Each  gave  several  louis. 
The  Russian  especially  was  highly  pleased  at  our  pro- 
posal ;  he  put  a  bank  note  of  a  hundred  sequins  into  the 
plate — a  piece  of  extravagance  which  startled  the  English- 
man. We  brought  the  collection  to  the  Prince.  "  Have 
the  goodness,"  said  the  Englishman,  "  to  entreat,  in  our 
names,  that  gentleman  to  let  us  see  a  proof  of  his  art,  and 
persuade  him  to  accept  this  small  token  of  our  acknowledg- 
ments for  his  trouble."  The  Prince  also  put  a  costly  ring 
into  the  plate,  and  presented  it  to  the  Sicilian.  He  con- 
sidered of  our  proposal.  "  Gentlemen,"  he  began,  "  this 
unexpected  generosity  is  highly  flattering.  I  obey  your 
wishes.  Your  desires  shall  be  fulfilled."  In  the  mean 
time  he  rang  the  bell,  ((  With  respect  to  this  money," 
he  continued,  "  to  which  I  have  no  right,  if  you  will  give 
me  leave,  I  will  present  it  to  the  nearest  monastery,  as  a 
gratuity  towards  so  benevolent  an  institution.  This  ring  I 
shall  always  keep,  as  a  valuable  proof  of  the  goodness  of 
the  best  of  princes." 

Here  the  master  of  the  house  entered,  to  whom  he  im- 
mediately delivered  the  money.  ee  He  is  still  a  swindler," 
said  the  Englishman,  e<  although  he  refuses  the  gold.  It 
is  done  that  he  may  get  more  into  the  Prince's  favour." 
Another  said,  "  The  landlord  is  in  league  with  him." 
' '  What  would  you  wish  to  see  ? "  said  the  Sicilian  to  the 
Prince.  "  Let  us  have  a  great  man,"  said  the  Lord : 
"  challenge  the  Pope  Ganginelli ;  it  will  be  the  same  to 
this  gentleman."  The  Sicilian  bit  his  lips.  "  I  dare  not 
call  for  one  who  has  received  extreme  unction."  "  That 
is  bad,"  said  the  Englishman ;  "  perhaps  we  should  learn 
from  him  of  what  disorder  he  died."  "  The  Marquis  of 
B  3 


THE    GHOST-SEER. 

Lanoy,"  said  the  Prince,  "  was  a  French  brigadier  in  a 
former  war,  and  my  most  intimate  friend.  In  a  battle 
near  Hastinbeck  he  received  a  deadly  wound.  They  took 
him  to  my  tent,  where  he  soon  after  died  in  my  arms. 
Before  he  expired  — '  Prince/  said  he,  '  I  shall  never 
again  behold  my  native  country ;  I  will  therefore  intrust 
you  with  a  secret,  which  is  known  to  no  one  but  myself. 
In  a  cloister  upon  the  borders  of  Flanders,  there  lives 

a *     At  that  instant  he  expired.     Death  destroyed  the 

thread  of  his  discourse.  I  could  wish  to  have  him  brought 
before  me,  and  to  hear  the  conclusion  of  his  tale."  "  Well 
requested,  by  Heaven,"  said  the  Englishman ;  "  I  shall 
esteem  you  as  the  greatest  conjurer  in  the  world  if  you 
comply  with  this  request."  We  admired  the  wise  choice 
of  the  Prince,  and  unanimously  gave  our  consent  to  the 
proposition.  In  the  mean  time  the  magician  walked  up 
and  down  the  room  with  hasty  steps,  and  seemed  to  be 
holding  a  conference  with  himself.  "  And  was  that  all 
which  the  deceased  communicated  to  you  ? "  "  All." 
"  Did  you  make  any  further  enquiries,  on  account  of 
what  you  heard,  in  his  native  country  ? "  "  It  was  in 
vain."  ' f  Did  the  Marquis  of  Lanoy  live  irreproachably  ?  - 
for  I  dare  not  call  any  one  I  please  from  the  dead."  "  He 
died  with  penitence  for  the  sins  of  his  youth."  "  Have 
you  about  you  any  token  of  his  ?  "  "  Yes."  The  Prince 
had  actually  a  snuff-box,  on  the  lid  of  which  a  miniature 
picture  of  the  Marquis  was  painted  in  enamel,  which  he 
usually  laid  near  him  upon  the  table.  "  I  do  not  desire 
to  know  what  it  is.  Leave  me  alone:  you  shall  see  the 
deceased." 

We  were  desired  to  go  into  another  apartment,  and 
wait  until  he  called  for  us.  At  the  same  time  he  ordered 
all  the  moveables  to  be  taken  from  the  hall,  the  windows 
to  be  taken  out,  and  the  window  shutters  to  be  put  close 
to.  He  also  ordered  the  landlord,  with  whom  he  had 
already  been  conniving,  to  bring  in  a  vessel  filled  with  hot 
coals,  and  to  put  out  all  the  fires  in  the  house  carefully 
with  water.  Before  we  returned,  he  made  us  all  promise 
that  we  would  observe  a  profound  silence  during  the  whole 
of  what  we  should  see  or  hear.  All  the  doors  of  the 


THE    GHOST-SEER.  23 

rooms  behind  us  leading  to  this  apartment  were  fastened. 
The  clock  had  struck  eleven.  A  deadly  silence  prevailed 
through  the  whole  house.  Before  we  went  out,  the  Rus- 
sian said  to  me  —  "  Have  we  any  loaded  pistols  with  us?" 
"  Why  ?  "  said  I.  ' e  It  is  at  all  events  convenient,"  an- 
swered he.  "  Wait  a  minute,  and  I  will  go  and  see  after 
some." 

He  \\ent  out,  and  the  Baron  and  myself  opened  a  window 
which  looked  towards  another  room,  and  we  thought  we 
heard  people  talking  together,  and  a  noise  as  if  they  were 
placing  a  ladder  under  it ;  but  as  that  might  only  be  a  con- 
jecture, I  dared  not  give  it  out  as  certain.  The  Russian 
returned  with  a  brace  of  pistols,  after  being  absent  about 
half  an  hour.  We  saw  him  load  them.  It  was  now  near 
two  o'clock  when  the  magician  appeared  again,  and  an- 
nounced that  he  was  prepared.  Before  we  returned,  he 
ordered  us  to  pull  off  our  shoes,  and  to  appear  in  our  shirts, 
stockings,  and  under  garments.  The  doors  as  before  were 
all  fastened.  We  found,  when  we  returned  into  the  hall, 
a  large  circle  made  with  coals,  in  which  we  could  all  stand 
very  conveniently.  Round  about  the  room,  and  by  the  four 
walls,  the  boards  were  taken  away,  so  that  we  seemed  to 
stand  as  it  were  upon  an  island.  An  altar,  hung  with 
black  cloth,  was  erected  in  the  middle  of  the  circle,  under 
which  was  spread  a  carpet  of  red  silk ;  a  Chaldean  Bible 
lay  open  near  a  death's  head  upon  the  altar,  and  a  silver 
crucifix  was  fastened  in  the  centre.  Instead  of  candles, 
spirits  were  burning  in  a  silver  vessel.  A  thick  smoke  of 
olive  wood  darkened  the  hall,  which  almost  extinguished  the 
lights.  The  conjurer  was  clothed  as  we  were,  but  bare- 
footed. On  his  bare  neck  he  wore  an  amulet*  suspended 
by  a  chain  of  human  hair.  Upon  his  loins  he  wore  a  white 
mantle,  which  was  decorated  with  magical  characters  and 
mysterious  figures.  He  made  us  join  hands,  and  maintain 
a  deep  silence.  Above  all,  he  recommended  us  not  to  ask 
the  apparition  any  questions.  He  requested  the  English- 

*  Amulet  was  the  name  of  a  charm  made  of  wood  or  other  materials,  and 
on  which  was  engraved  particular  words  and  characters,  and  worn  about  the 
neck,  to  subvert  the  machinations  of  the  Devil  and  his  agents.  They  were 
held  in  high  esteem  by  the  Arabs,  Turks,  and  Jews,  and  particularly  amongst 
the  Catholics. 

B    4 


24  THE    GHOST-SEER. 

man  and  myself  (for  he  seemed  to  entertain  the  greatest 
suspicion  of  us)  to  hold  two  drawn  swords,  steadily  and  cross- 
wise, an  inch  above  his  head,  as  long  as  the  ceremony 
should  last.  We  stood  in  a  half  circle  around  him.  The 
Russian  officer  pressed  near  to  the  Englishman,  and  stood 
next  to  the  altar.  The  magician  placed  himself  upon  the 
carpet,  with  his  face  towards  the  east,  sprinkled  holy  water 
to  the  four  points  of  the  compass,  and  bowed  thrice  before 
the  Bible.  A  quarter  of  an  hour  passed  in  ceremonious 
acts,  perfectly  unintelligible  to  us ;  at  the  end  of  which,  he 
gave  those  a  sign  who  stood  behind  him  to  hold  him  fast  by 
the  hair.  Struggling  apparently  with  dreadful  convulsions, 
he  called  the  deceased  by  name  three  times  ;  at  the  last,  he 
stretched  out  his  hand  towards  the  crucifix.  We  instantly 
experienced  a  violent  shock,  which  separated  our  hands.  A 
sudden  clap  of  thunder  shook  the  house  to  its  foundation ; 
at  the  same  time  the  window  shutters  rattled,  and  all  the 
doors  were  burst  open.  The  apparatus  fell  in  pieces,  and 
as  soon  as  the  light  was  extinguished,  we  observed  dis- 
tinctly on  the  wall  over  the  chimney-piece  the  figure  of  a 
man  clothed  in  a  bloody  garment,  with  a  pale  and  livid 
aspect. 

"  Who  called  me  ?  "  cried  a  faint,  hollow  voice.  ' '  Thy 
friend,"  said  the  conjurer,  "  who  venerates  thy  memory,  and 
prays  for  thy  soul."  At  the  same  time  he  mentioned  the 
name  of  the  Prince.  "What  does  he  want?"  continued 
the  ghost,  after  a  very  long  pause.  ((  He  wishes  to  hear 
your  confession  to  the  end,  which  you  began  in  this  world 
but  did  not  finish."  ef  In  a  cloister  upon  the  borders  of 
Flanders  there  lives — "  Here  the  house  shook  again,  the 
door  opened  of  its  own  accord,  and  a  violent  clap  of 
thunder  was  heard,  as  a  flash  of  lightning  illuminated  the 
room.  Immediately  another  figure,  bloody  and  pale  like  the 
first,  appeared  at  the  threshold.  The  spirits  in  the  vase 
began  to  burn  again,  and  the  hall  was  as  it  first  appeared. 

"  Who  is  among  us?"  cried  the  magician,  looking  with 
horror  and  astonishment  at  the  spectators.  "  I  did  not 
much  wish  for  thee."  The  ghost  immediately  walked  with 
a  slow  and  majestic  step  to  the  altar,  and  stood  upon  the 
carpet  opposite  to  us.  It  seized  the  crucifix,  and  the  first 


THE    GHOST-SEER.  25 

apparition  instantly  vanished.  t(  Who  is  it  that  has  called 
me  ?  "  said  the  second  apparition.  The  magician  began  to 
tremble.  Fear  and  astonishment  almost  overpowered  us. 
I  now  seized  a  pistol — the  magician  wrested  it  from  my 
hand,  and  fired  at  the  ghost.  The  ball  rolled  along  the 
altar,  and  the  figure  remained  amidst  the  smoke  unhurt. 
The  magician  immediately  sunk  down  in  a  fit. 

"  What  have  we  here?"  exclaimed  the  Englishman 
with  astonishment,  as  he  endeavoured  to  strike  the  ghost 
with  his  sword.  The  apparition  arrested  his  arm,  and  the 
sword  fell  to  the  ground.  Here  the  sweat  of  anguish  started 
from  my  forehead,  and  the  Baron  confessed  to  us  afterwards 
that  he  employed  himself  in  praying.  All  this  time  the 
Prince  stood  fearless  and  unmoved,  with  his  eyes  riveted 
upon  the  figure.  "  Yes  ! "  said  he  at  last,  pathetically,  "  \ 
know  thee  :  thou  art  Lanoy — thou  art  my  friend.  From 
whence  dost  thou  come  ?  "  "  I  cannot  divulge  the  mysteries 
of  eternity. — Ask  me  any  question  that  relates  to  my  ex- 
istence on  earth."  "  Who  lives  in  the  cloister,"  said  the 
Prince,  ' '  of  which  you  gave  me  notice  at  the  hour  of  your 
death  ? "  "  My  daughter."  ' '  How  !  Have  you  ever 
been  a  father  ?  "  "  I  would  that  I  had  not  been."  "  Are 
you  not  happy,  Lanoy  ?  "  "  God  is  my  judge."  "  Can 
I  not  render  you  any  service  in  this  world  ?  "  ee  None  ; 
but  think  of  yourself."  "  How  must  I  do  that  ?  "  "  You 
will  learn  it  at  Rome." 

"  Immediately  a  clap  of  thunder  was  heard  —  a  thick 
smoke  filled  the  room  ;  and  when  it  cleared  up,  the  figure 
had  vanished.  I  pushed  open  a  window-shutter — it  was 
day-light. 

The  conjurer  soon  recovered  his  senses.  (e  Where  are 
we  ?  "  he  cried,  when  he  saw  the  day-light.  The  Russian 
officer  stood  close  behind  him  ;  and  looking  over  his  shoul- 
der, "  Juggler,"  he  said,  with  a  piercing  frown,  "  this  is 
the  last  time  thou  wilt  ever  have  it  in  thy  power  to  summon 
another  ghost  to  appear  on  earth."  The  Sicilian  turned 
hastily  round ;  and,  looking  stedfastly  in  his  face,  uttered 
a  loud  shriek,  and  fell  senseless  on  the  ground.  Imme- 
diately the  pretended  Russian  was  discovered  by  the  Prince  to 
be  no  other  person  than  his  mysterious  friend  the  Armenian. 


^O  THE    GHOST-SEER. 

No  language  can  paint  the  horror  this  circumstance  oc- 
casioned in  the  mind  of  the  Prince,  and  the  consternation 
that  generally  pervaded  the  company.  We  stood  motion- 
less as  we  surveyed  this  awful  being,  who  penetrated  us  to 
the  soul  with  his  looks.  A  dead  silence  reigned  for  some 
minutes :  at  length  several  loud  knocks  at  the  door  roused 
us  from  a  state  of  stupefaction.  The  noise  continued,  and 
the  door  was  soon  after  shattered  in  pieces,  when  several 
police  officers,  with  a  guard,  rushed  into  the  hall.  "  Here 
we  find  them  altogether,"  cried  the  commander,  turning  to 
his  followers.  fs  In  the  name  of  the  government,"  (ad- 
dressing himself  to  us)  cried  he,  "  I  arrest  you  all." 

We  had  scarcely  time  to  recollect  ourselves,  ere  we  were 
all  surrounded  by  the  guard.  The  Russian,  whom  I  shall 
now  call  the  Armenian,  took  the  commander  aside ;  and 
notwithstanding  the  confusion  we  were  in,  I  observed  that 
he  whispered  something  in  his  ear,  and  showed  him  a  paper, 
at  the  sight  of  which  the  man  bowed  respectfully  and  re- 
tired—  as  he  passed  us  he  took  off  his  hat.  "  Forgive 
me,  gentlemen,"  said  he,  "  for  having  confounded  you  with 
this  impostor.  I  will  not  ask  who  you  are;  this  person 
assures  me  that  I  have  men  of  honour  before  me." 

In  the  mean  time  he  gave  his  people  a  hint  to  withdraw 
from  us.  He  commanded  them,  however,  to  seize  the 
Sicilian,  and  to  bind  him.  "  This  fellow  has  reigned  long 
enough,"  added  he ;  "  we  have  been  upon  the  watch  for  him 
these  seven  months." 

The  miserable  wretch  was  indeed  an  object  of  pity. 
The  sudden  fright  which  the  second  apparition  occasioned, 
and  the  unexpected  reproach  from  the  Armenian,  had  over- 
powered his  senses.  He  suffered  himself  to  be  bound  with- 
out the  least  opposition.  His  eyes  rolled  in  his  head,  and 
a  death-like  paleness  spread  itself  over  his  countenance,  as 
at  intervals  he  heaved  convulsive  sighs.  Every  moment 
we  expected  that  he  would  become  frantic.  The  Prince 
pitied  his  distress,  and  undertook  to  solicit  his  discharge 
from  the  leader  of  the  police,  to  whom  he  discovered  his 
rank.  "  Gracious  Prince,"  said  the  officer,  "  do  you  know 
who  this  man  is  ?  and  for  whom  you  so  generously  inter- 
cede ?  The  tricks  which  he  practised  to  deceive  you  are  the 


THE    GHOST-SEER.  2? 

least  of  his  crimes.  We  have  already  secured  his  accom- 
plices, and  they  have  discovered  transactions  which  he  has 
been  concerned  in  of  the  most  horrid  nature.  He  may 
think  himself  well  off  if  he  escapes  with  banishment  to  the 
galleys." 

In  the  mean  time  we  observed  the  landlord  and  his  family 
fettered  and  led  through  the  yard.  "  Is  that  man  guilty  ?" 
cried  the  Prince  j  cc  what  has  he  done  ? "  ' '  He  was  his 
accomplice/'  said  the  officer,,  "  and  assisted  him  in  his 
mountebank  tricks  and  robberies,  and  shared  the  spoil  with 
him.  I  will  convince  you  immediately,  gracious  Sir,  of  the 
truth  of  my  assertion"  (turning  towards  his  followers). 
ff  Search  the  house/'  he  cried,  "  and  bring  me  immediately 
intelligence  as  to  what  you  discover." 

The  Prince  looked  for  the  Armenian,  but  he  was  gone. 
In  the  confusion  which  this  unexpected  circumstance  occa- 
sioned, he  found  means  to  steal  off  without  being  observed. 
The  Prince  was  inconsolable:  he  determined  to  send  servants 
after  him,  and  also  search  for  him  himself ;  and,  hurrying 
with  me  to  the  window,  we  observed  the  whole  house  sur- 
rounded by  the  populace,  whom  the  account  of  this  event 
had  drawn  to  the  spot.  "  It  is  impossible  to  make  our 
way  through  the  crowd,"  said  I ;  ee  and  if  it  is  the  intention 
of  the  Armenian  to  elude  our  search,  he  certainly  knows  the 
means  to  do  it  effectually :  let  us  rather  stay  here  a  little 
longer,  gracious  Sir.  Perhaps  this  officer  of  the  police  can 
give  us  some  information  respecting  him,  to  whom  he  has, 
if  I  have  rightly  observed,  discovered  himself." 

We  recollected  that  we  were  still  in  an  undress,  and  pro- 
mising to  return  soon,  we  hastened  into  a  room  to  put  on 
our  clothes  as  quickly  as  possible.  When  we  came  back,  the 
searching  of  the  house  was  finished.  After  they  had  re- 
moved the  altar,  and  forced  up  the  boards  of  the  floor,  they 
discovered  a  vault  where  a  man  was  able  to  sit  upright, 
which  was  separated  by  a  secret  door  from  a  narrow  stair- 
case that  led  to  a  gloomy  cave.  In  this  abyss  they  found  an 
electrical  machine,  a  clock,  and  a  small  silver  beU ;  which 
last,  as  well  as  the  electrical  machine,  had  a  communication 
with  the  altar  and  the  crucifix  that  was  fixed  upon  it.  A  hole 
had  been  made  in  the  window-shutter  opposite  the  chimney, 


28  THE    GHOST-SEER. 

which  opened  and  shut  with  a  slide.  In  this  hole,  as  we 
learned  afterwards,  was  fixed  a  magic  lantern,  from  which 
the  figure  of  the  ghost  had  been  reflected  on  the  opposite 
wall  over  the  chimney.  From  the  garret  and  the  cave  they 
brought  several  drums,  to  which  large  leaden  bullets  were 
fastened  by  strings  :  these  had  probably  been  used  to  imitate 
the  roaring  of  thunder  which  we  had  heard.  In  searching 
the  Sicilian's  clothes,  they  found  in  a  case  different  powders, 
genuine  mercury  in  vials  and  boxes,  phosphorus  in  a  glass 
bottle,  and  a  ring,  which  we  immediately  knew  to  be  mag- 
netic, because  it  adhered  to  a  steel  button  that  had  been 
placed  near  to  it  by  accident.  In  his  coat  pockets  were  a 
rosary,  a  Jew's  beard,  a  dagger,  and  a  pocket  pistol.  fe  Let 
us  see  if  it  is  loaded,"  said  one  of  the  watch,  and  fired  up 
the  chimney.  "  Jesus  Maria ! "  cried  a  voice,  which  we 
knew  to  be  the  same  as  that  we  had  heard  when  the  first 
spirit  appeared ;  and  at  the  same  instant  we  beheld  a  bleed- 
ing person  tumbling  down  the  chimney.  tc  What !  not  yet 
at  rest,  poor  ghost?"  cried  the  Englishman,  whilst  we 
started  back  affrighted.  "  Go  to  thy  grave.  Thou  hast 
appeared  what  thou  wast  not,  and  now  thou  wilt  be  what 
thou  hast  appeared."  "  Jesus  Maria !  I  am  wounded  ! " 
replied  the  man.  The  ball  had  fractured  his  right  leg. 
Care  was  immediately  taken  to  have  the  wound  dressed. 

<e  But  who  art  thou  ?  "  said  the  English  lord  ;  "  and  what 
evil  spirit  brought  thee  here  ?  "  "  I  am  a  poor  solitary 
monk,"  answered  the  wounded  man.  "  A  strange  gentle- 
man offered  me  a  zechin  to  — "  ' '  Repeat  your  magical 
lesson.  And  why  did  you  not  withdraw  immediately  you 
had  finished  ?  "  ' '  I  was  waiting  for  a  signal  to  continue  my 
speech,  as  had  been  agreed  on  between  us ;  but  as  this  sig- 
nal was  not  given,  I  was  endeavouring  to  get  off,  when  I 
found  the  ladder  had  been  removed."  "  And  what  was  the 
formula  he  taught  thee  ?  " 

The  wounded  man  fainted :  nothing  more  could  be 
got  from  him.  When  we  observed  his  features  more 
minutely,  we  discovered  him  to  be  the  same  man  that  stood 
in  the  pathway  of  the  Prince  the  evening  before,  and 
asked  alms  for  the  Madonna.  The  Prince  addressed  the 
leader  of  the  watch,  giving  him  at  the  same  time  some 


THE    GHOST-SEER.  29 

pieces  of  gold.  "  You  have  rescued  us/'  said  he,  "  from 
the  hands  of  a  deceiver,,  and  done  us  justice  even  ^without 
knowing  us  :  increase  our  gratitude  by  telling  us  who  the 
stranger  was,  that,  by  speaking  only  a  few  words,  pro- 
cured us  our  liberty  ?  "  ' '  Whom  do  you  mean  ?  "  asked 
the  officer,  with  a  countenance  which  seemed  to  indicate  that 
the  question  was  useless.  "  The  gentleman  in  a  Russian 
uniform,  who  took  you  aside,  showed  you  a  written  paper, 
and  whispered  in  your  ear,  in  consequence  of  which  you 
immediately  set  us  free."  "  Do  not  you  know  the  gentle- 
man ?  "  said  the  officer.  et  Was  he  not  one  of  your  com- 
pany ? "  "  No,"  said  the  Prince ;  "  and  I  have  very 
important  reasons  for  wishing  to  be  acquainted  with  him." 
"  He  is  a  perfect  stranger  to  me  too,"  replied  the  officer  ; 
"  even  his  name  is  unknown  to  me.  I  saw  him  to-day  for 
the  first  time  in  my  life."  "  How !  And  was  he  able  in 
so  short  a  space  of  time,  and  by  using  only  a  few  words,  to 
convince  you  that  we  were  all  innocent  ?"  "  Undoubtedly, 
Sire,  with  a  single  word."  "  And  this  was?  —  I  confess  I 
wish  to  know  it."  "  This  stranger,  my  Prince,''  (weighing 
the  zechins  in  his  hand)  —  "  you  have  been  too  generous  for 
me  to  make  it  any  longer  a  mystery  —  this  stranger  is  an 
officer  of  the  Inquisition."  ' '  Of  the  Inquisition !  —  What ! 
that  man  ?  "  "  Nothing  else,  my  Prince.  I  was  convinced 
of  it  by  the  paper  which  he  showed  to  me."  "  That  man 
did  you  say  ?  It  cannot  be."  ' '  I  will  tell  you  more,  my 
Prince ;  it  was  upon  his  information  that  I  have  been  sent 
here  to  arrest  the  conjurer." 

We  looked  at  each  other  with  the  utmost  astonishment. 

"  Now  we  know,"  said  the  English  lord,  "  why  the 
poor  devil  of  a  sorcerer  started  when  he  came  near  his 
face.  He  knew  him  to  be  a  spy,  and  for  that  reason  he 
made  such  a  horrible  outcry,  and  threw  himself  at  his 
feet."  "  No,"  interrupted  the  Prince ;  cc  this  man  is 
whatever  he  wishes  to  be,  and  whatever  the  moment  re- 
quires him  to  be.  No  mortal  ever  knew  what  he  really 
was.  Did  not  you  see  the  knees  of  the  Sicilian  sink  under 
him,  when  he  said,  with  a  terrible  voice,  (  Thou  shalt  no 
more  call  a  ghost.'  There  is  something  mysterious  in  this 
matter.  No  person  can  persuade  me  that  one  man  should 


30  THE    GHOST-SEER. 

be  thus  alarmed  at  the  sight  of  another,  without  some  most 
essential  reason."  "  The  conjurer  will  probably  explain 
it  the  best/'  said  the  English  lord,  "  if  that  gentleman  " 
(pointing  to  the  officer)  (l  will  procure  us  an  opportunity  of 
speaking  to  his  prisoner."  The  officer  consented  to  it; 
and,  after  having  agreed  with  the  Englishman  to  visit  the 
Sicilian  in  the  morning,  we  returned  to  Venice.  * 

Lord  Seymour  (this  was  the  name  of  the  Englishman) 
called  upon  us  very  early  in  the  forenoon,  and  was  soon 
after  followed  by  a  person  whom  the  officer  had  intrusted 
with  the  care  of  conducting  us  to  the  prison.  I  forgot 
to  mention,  that  one  of  the  Prince's  domestics,  a  native 
of  Bremen,  who  had  served  him  many  years  with  the 
strictest  fidelity,  and  who  possessed  his  confidence,  had 
been  missing  for  several  days.  Whether  he  had  met  with 
any  accident,  been  kidnapped,  or  had  voluntarily  absented 
himself,  was  a  secret  to  every  one.  The  last  supposition 
was  extremely  improbable,  as  his  conduct  had  always  been 
regular  and  irreproachable.  All  that  his  companions  could 
recollect  was,  that  he  had  been  for  some  time  very  melan- 
choly, and  that,  whenever  he  had  a  moment's  leisure,  he 
used  to  visit  a  certain  monastery  in  the  Giudecca,  where 
he  had  formed  an  acquaintance  with  some  monks.  This 
led  us  to  suppose  that  he  might  have  fallen  into  the  hands 
of  the  priests,  and  had  been  persuaded  to  turn  Catholic. 
The  Prince  was  indifferent  about  matters  of  this  kind,  and 
the  few  enquiries  he  caused  to  be  made  proving  unsuccess- 
ful, he  gave  up  the  search.  He,  however,  regretted  the 
loss  of  this  man,  who  had  so  constantly  attended  him  in 
his  campaigns, — had  always  been  faithfully  attached  to 
him,  —  and  whom  it  was  therefore  difficult  to  replace  in  a 
foreign  country.  The  very  same  day  the  Prince's  banker, 
whom  he  had  commissioned  to  provide  him  with  another 
servant,  came  at  the  moment  we  were  going  out ;  he  pre- 

*  Count  O ,  whose  narrative  I  have  thus  far  literally  copied,  describes 

minutely  the  various  effects  of  this  adventure  upon  the  mind  of  the  Princi1, 
and  of  his  companions,  and  recounts  a  variety  of  tales  of  apparitions,  which 
this  event  gave  occasion  to  introduce.  I  shall  omit  giving  them  to  the  reader, 
on  the  supposition  that  he  is  as  curious  as  myself  to  know  the  conclusion  of 
the  adventure,  and  its  effects  on  the  conduct  of  the  Prince.  I  shall  only  add, 
that  the  Prince  got  no  sleep  the  remainder  of  the  night,  and  that  lie  waited 
with  impatience  for  the  moment  which  was  to  disclose  this  incomprehensible 
mystery. 


THE    GHOST-SEER.  31 

sented  to  the  Prince  a  well-dressed  man,  of  a  good  appear- 
ance, about  forty  years  of  age,  who  had  been  for  a  long 
time  secretary  to  a  procurator  ;  spoke  French  and  a  little 
German,  and  was  besides  furnished  with  the  best  recom- 
mendations. The  Prince  was  pleased  with  the  man's 
physiognomy  ;  and  as  he  declared  that  he  would  be  satisfied 
with  such  wages  as  his  service  should  be  found  to  merit, 
the  Prince  engaged  him  immediately. 

We  found  the  Sicilian  in  a  private  prison,  where,  as  the 
keeper  assured  us,  he  had  been  lodged  for  the  present,  to  ac- 
commodate the  Prince,  as  he  was  to  be  confined  in  future 
under  the  lead  roofs,  to  which  there  is  no  access.  These 
lead  roofs  are  the  most  terrible  dungeons  in  Venice.  They 
are  situated  on  the  top  of  the  Palace  of  St.  Mark,  and  the 
miserable  criminals  suffer  so  excessively  from  the  heat  of 
the  leads,  occasioned  by  the  burning  rays  of  the  sun 
descending  directly  upon  them,  that  they  frequently  become 
distracted.  The  Sicilian  had  recovered  from  his  terror, 
and  rose  respectfully  at  the  sight  of  the  Prince.  He  had 
fetters  on  one  hand  and  one  leg,  but  he  was  able  to  walk 
about  the  room.  The  keeper  left  the  dungeon  as  soon  as 
we  had  entered. 

"  I  come,"  said  the  Prince,  "  to  request  an  explanation 
of  you  on  two  subjects.  —  You  owe  me  the  one,  and  it 
shall  not  be  to  your  disadvantage  if  you  grant  me  the 
other."  "  My  part  is  now  acted,'  replied  the  Sicilian  : 
"  my  destiny  is  in  your  hands."  "  Your  sincerity  alone 
can  mitigate  your  punishment."  "  Ask,  my  Prince ;  I 
am  ready  to  answer  you.  I  have  nothing  more  to  lose." 
tf  You  showed  me  the  face  of  the  Armenian  in  your  look- 
ing-glass—  How  was  it  done?"  "  What  you  saw  was 
no  looking-glass  —  a  portrait  in  pastel  behind  a  glass,  re- 
presenting a  man  in  an  Armenian  dress,  deceived  you. 
The  want  of  light,  your  astonishment,  and  my  own  dex- 
terity, favoured  the  deception.  The  picture  itself  must 
have  been  found  among  the  other  things  seized  at  the  inn." 
(i  But  how  came  you  so  well  acquainted  with  my  ideas  as 
to  hit  upon  the  Armenian  ? "  "  This  was  not  difficult, 
my  Prince.  You  have,  perhaps,  frequently  mentioned 
your  adventure  with  the  Armenian  at  table,  in  presence  of 


32  THE    GHOST-SEER. 

your  domestics.  One  of  my  servants  got  accidentally  ac- 
quainted with  one  of  yours  in  the  Giudecca,  and  soon 
learned  from  him  as  much  as  I  wished  to  know."  "  Where 
is  this  man  ? "  asked  the  Prince ;  "  I  miss  him,  and  in 
all  probability  you  are  acquainted  with  the  place  of  his 
retreat,  and  the  reason  why  he  deserted  my  service."  <f  I 
swear  to  you,  gracious  Sir,  that  I  know  not  the  least  of 
him.  I  have  never  seen  him  myself,  nor  had  any  other 
concern  with  him  than  the  one  before  mentioned." 

"  Go  on,"  said  the  Prince.  "  By  this  means  also,  I 
received  the  first  information  of  your  residence,  and  of 
your  adventures  at  Venice  j  and  I  resolved  immediately  to 
profit  by  them.  Your  Highness  sees  that  I  am  ingenuous. 
I  was  apprised  of  your  intended  excursion  on  the  Brenta 
—  I  was  prepared  for  it :  and  a  key,  that  dropped  by 
chance  from  your  pocket,  afforded  me  the  first  opportunity 
of  trying  my  art  upon  you."  "  How  !  Have  I  been  mis- 
taken ?  The  adventure  of  the  key  then  was  a  trick  of 
yours,  and  not  of  the  Armenian  ?  —  You  say  this  key  fell 
from  my  pocket  ? "  "  You  accidentally  dropped  it  in 
taking  out  your  purse,  and  I  instantly  covered  it  with  my 
foot.  The  person  of  whom  you  bought  the  lottery  ticket 
was  in  concert  with  me.  He  caused  you  to  draw  it  from 
a  box  where  there  was  no  blank,  and  the  key  had  been  in 
the  snuff-box  long  before  it  came  into  your  possession." 
' f  It  is  almost  incomprehensible  —  And  the  monk  who 
stopped  me  in  my  way,  and  addressed  me  in  a  manner  so 
solemn  — "  "  Was  the  same  that  I  hear  has  been  wounded 
in  the  chimney.  He  is  one  of  my  accomplices,  and  under 
that  disguise  has  rendered  me  many  important  services." 

"But  what  purpose  was  this  intended  to  answer?" 
"  To  render  you  thoughtful :  to  inspire  you  with  such  a 
train  of  ideas  as  should  be  favourable  to  the  wonders  I 
intended  to  make  you  believe."  "  The  pantomimical 
dance,  which  ended  in  a  manner  so  extraordinary,  was  at 
least  none  of  your  contrivance."  "  I  had  taught  the  girl 
\vho  represented  the  queen.  Her  performance  was  the 
result  of  my  instructions.  1  supposed  your  Highness 
would  not  be  a  little  astonished  to  find  yourself  known  in 
this  place,  and  (I  entreat  your  Highness's  pardon)  your 


THE    GHOST-SEER. 

adventure  with  the  Armenian  gave  room  for  me  to  hope 
that  you  were  already  disposed  to  reject  natural  interpret- 
ations, and  to  search  for  the  marvellous." 

"  Indeed  !  "  exclaimed  the  Prince,  at  once  angry  and 
amazed,  and  casting  upon  me  a  significant  look  —  "  In- 
deed, I  did  not  expect  this.*  But,"  continued  he,  after  a 
long  silence,  "  how  did  you  produce  the  figure  that  ap- 
peared on  the  wall  over  the  chimney  ?  "  ' c  By  means  of  a 
magic  lantern  that  was  fixed  in  the  opposite  window- 
shutter,  in  which  you  have,  no  doubt,  observed  an  open- 
ing." "  And  how  did  it  happen  that  none  of  us 


34t  THE    GHOST-SEER. 

I  asked  whether  you  had  any  thing  ahout  you  as  a  me- 
morial of  your  friend.  Your  Highness  answered  in  the 
affirmative.  I  conjectured  it  might  be  the  box.  I  had 
attentively  considered  the  picture  during  supper,  and  being 
very  expert  in  drawing,  and  not  less  happy  in  taking  like- 
nesses, I  had  no  difficulty  in  giving  to  my  shade  the 
superficial  resemblance  you  have  perceived,  because  the 
Marquis's  features  are  very  striking."  fc  But  the  figure 
seemed  to  move  ?"  "  It  appeared  so;  yet  it  was  not  the 
figure,  but  the  smoke  which  received  its  light."  "  And 
the  man  who  fell  down  in  the  chimney  spoke  for  the 
apparition  ?  "  fe  He  did."  "  But  he  could  not  hear  your 
questions  distinctly."  "  There  was  no  occasion  for  it. 
Your  Highness  will  recollect,  that  I  ordered  you  all  very 
strictly  not  to  propose  any  question  yourselves  to  the  ap- 
parition. My  enquiries  and  his  answers  were  pre-con- 
certed between  us  ;  and  that  no  mistake  might  happen,  I 
caused  him  to  speak  at  long  intervals,  which  he  counted 
by  the  beating  of  a  watch."  "  You  ordered  the  inn- 
keeper carefully  to  extinguish  every  fire  in  the  house. 
This  was  undoubtedly  —  "  "  To  save  the  man  from  the 
danger  of  being  smothered ;  because  the  chimneys  in  the 
house  communicate  with  each  other,  and  I  did  not  think 
myself  very  secure  from  your  retinue," 

f(  How  did  it  happen,"  asked  Lord  Seymour,  "  that  your 
ghost  appeared  neither  sooner  nor  later  than  you  wished 
him  ?  "  <(  The  ghost  was  in  the  room  for  some  time  before 
I  called  him  ;  but  while  the  room  was  lighted,  the  shade 
was  too  faint  to  be  perceived.  When  the  formula  of  the 
conjuration  was  finished,  I  caused  the  cover  of  the  box,  in 
which  the  spirit  was  burning,  to  drop  down  ;  the  hall  was 
darkened,  and  it  was  not  till  then  that  the  figure  on  the 
wall  cculd  be  distinctly  seen,  although  it  had  been  reflected 
there  a  considerable  time  before."  "  When  the  ghost  ap- 
peared, we  all  felt  an  electrical  stroke.  How  was  that 
managed  ?"  "  You  have  discovered  the  machine  under  the 
altar.  You  have  also  seen,  that  I  was  standing  upon  a  silk 
carpet.  I  ordered  you  to  form  a  half  moon  around  me, 
and  to  take  hold  of  each  other's  hand.  When  the  crisis 
approached,  I  gave  a  sign  to  one  of  you  to  seize  me  by  the 


THE    GHOST-SEER.  35 

hair.  The  silver  crucifix  was  the  conductor;  and  you  felt 
the  electrical  shock  when  I  touched  it  with  my  hand." 

"  You  ordered  Count  O and  myself,"  continued 

Lord  Seymour,  "  to  hold  two  naked  swords  across  over 
your  head,  during  the  whole  time  of  the  conjuration  ;  for 
what  purpose  ?  "  "  For  no  other  than  to  engage  your  at- 
tention during  the  operation  ;  because  I  distrusted  you  two 
the  most.  You  remember,  that  I  expressly  commanded 
you  to  hold  the  swords  one  inch  above  my  head ;  by  con- 
fining you  exactly  to  this  distance,  I  prevented  you  from 
looking  where  I  did  not  wish  you.  I  had  not  then  per- 
ceived my  principal  enemy." 

"  I  own,"  said  Lord  Seymour,  "  you  acted  cautiously ; 
but  why  were  we  obliged  to  appear  undressed  ?  "  "  Merely 
to  give  a  greater  solemnity  to  the  scene,  and  to  fill  your 
imaginations  with  the  idea  of  something  extraordinary." 
"  The  second  apparition  prevented  your  ghost  from  speak- 
ing," said  the  Prince  ;  "  what  should  we  have  learned  from 
him  ?  "  ' '  Nearly  the  same  as  what  you  heard  afterwards. 
It  was  not  without  design  that  I  asked  your  Highness 
whether  you  had  told  me  every  thing  that  the  deceased 
communicated  to  you,  and  whether  you  had  made  any 
further  enquiries  on  this  subject  in  his  country  ?  I  thought 
this  was  necessary,  in  order  to  prevent  the  deposition  of 
the  ghost  from  being  contradicted  by  facts  that  you  were 
previously  acquainted  with.  Knowing  likewise  that  every 
man,  especially  in  his  youth,  is  liable  to  error,  I  enquired 
whether  the  life  of  your  friend  had  been  irreproachable, 
and  on  your  answer  I  founded  that  of  the  ghost." 

"  Your  explanation  of  this  matter  is  in  some  measure 
satisfactory,"  said  the  Prince ;  "  but  there  remains  yet  one 
material  circumstance  which  I  must  insist  upon  being  cleared 
up."  "  If  it  be  in  my  power,  and — "  "  I  shall  not  listen 
to  any  conditions.  Justice,  into  whose  hands  you  are  fallen, 
ought  not,  perhaps,  to  deal  with  you  so  delicately.  Who 
was  the  man  at  whose  feet  we  saw  you  fall  ?  What  do  you 
know  of  him  ?  Ho\v  did  you  get  acquainted  with  him  ? 
and  what  do  you  know  of  the  second  apparition  ?  "  "  Your 

Highness "  "  Hesitate  not  a  moment.  Recollect, 

that  on  looking  at  the  Russian  officer  attentively,  you 
c  2 


86 


THE    GHOST-SEEK. 


screamed  aloud,  and  fell  on  your  knees  before  him.  What 
are  we  to  understand  by  that?"  "That  man,  rny  Prince 

• "     He  stopped,  grew  visibly  pale  and  perplexed,  and, 

looking  around  him  with  an  awful  trepidation  —  "  Yes, 
your  Highness,"  he  continued,  "that  man  is  a  terrible 
being."  "  What  do  you  know  of  him  ?  What  connection 
have  you  with  him  ?  Do  not  conceal  the  truth  from  us." 
"I  will  not;  but — I  am  not  certain  that  he  is  not  among  us 
at  this  very  moment  ? '' 

"  Where?  Who?"  exclaimed  we  all  together,  looking 
fearfully  about  the  room.  "  It  is  impossible."  "  That 
man,  or  whatever  else  he  may  be,  is  a  being  incompre- 
hensible ;  all  things  seem  possible  for  him  to  do."  "  Who 
is  he  ?  Whence  does  he  come  ?  Is  he  Armenian  or  Rus- 
sian ?  Of  the  characters  he  assumes,  which  is  his  real 
one  ?  "  <e  He  is  not  what  he  appears  to  be.  There  are  few 
conditions  or  countries  in  which  he  has  not  worn  the  mask. 
No  person  knows  who  he  is,  whence  he  comes,  or  whither 
he  goes.  Some  say  he  has  been  for  a  long  time  in  Egypt, 
and  that  he  has  brought  from  thence,  out  of  a  catacomb, 
his  occult  sciences.  Here  we  only  know  him  by  the  name 
of  the  Incomprehensible.  How  old,  for  instance,  do  you 
think  he  is  ? "  "  To  judge  from  his  appearance,  he  can 
scarcely  have  passed  forty."  "  And  of  what  age  do  you 
suppose  I  am?"  "  Not  far  from  fifty."  "Well;  and  I 
must  tell  you,  that  I  was  but  a  boy  of  seventeen  when  my 
grandfather  spoke  to  me  of  this  extraordinary  man,  whom 
he  had  seen  at  Famagusta ;  at  which  time  he  appeared 
nearly  of  the  same  age  as  he  does  at  present."  "  Im- 
possible," said  the  Prince;  "it  is  ridiculous,  and  in- 
credible." 

te  By  no  means,  sir.  Were  I  not  prevented  by  these 
fetters,  I  could  produce  vouchers  that  would  readily  confirm 
my  assertion.  There  are  several  credible  persons  who  re- 
member having  seen  him,  each  at  the  same  time,  in  dif- 
ferent parts  of  the  globe.  No  sword  can  wound  —  no 
poison  hurt — no  fire  burn  him — no  vessel  in  which  he 
embarks  can  be  shipwrecked  or  sunk  :  time  itself  seems  to 
have  no  influence  over  him  ;  years  do  not  affect  his 
constitution,  nor  age  whiten  his  hair.  He  was  never  seen 


THE    GHOST-SEER.  3? 

to  take  any  food.  He  is  a  stranger  to  love.  No  sleep 
closes  his  eyes.  Of  the  twenty-four  hours  in  the  day, 
there  is  only  one  which  he  cannot  command,  during  which 
no  person  ever,  saw  him,  and  during  which  he  never  was 
employed  in  any  terrestrial  occupation." 
"  And  this  hour  is — " 

<e  That  of  midnight.  When  the  clock  strikes  twelve,  he 
ceases  to  belong  to  the  living.  In  whatever  place  he  is,  he 
must  immediately  be  gone ;  whatever  business  he  is  engaged 
in,  he  must  instantly  leave  it.  That  dreadful  hour  tears 
him  from  the  arms  of  friendship,  hurries  him  from  the 
sacred  altar,  and  would,  even  in  the  agonies  of  death,  drag 
him  from  his  bed.  His  haunt  has  never  been  discovered,, 
nor  his  engagements  at  that  hour  known.  No  person 
ventures  to  interrogate,  and  still  less  to  follow  him.  As  the 
time  approaches,  his  features  are  enveloped  in  the  gloom  of 
melancholy,  and  are  so  terrifying  that  no  person  has  courage 
to  look  him  in  the  face  or  to  speak  a  word  to  him.  However 
lively  the  conversation  may  have  been,  a  dead  silence  im- 
mediately succeeds  it,  and  all  around  him  wait  for  his 
return  in  awful  horror,  without  venturing  to  quit  their 
seats,  or  to  open  the  door  through  which  he  has  passed." 

"  Does  nothing  extraordinary  appear  in  his  person  when 
he  returns  ?  "  "  Nothing,  except  that  he  seems  pale  and 
languid,  nearly  in  the  state  of  a  man  who  has  just  suffered 
a  painful  operation,  or  received  disastrous  intelligence. 
Some  pretend  to  have  seen  drops  of  blood  on  his  linen, 
but  with  what  degree  of  veracity  I  cannot  affirm."  "  Did 
no  person  ever  attempt  to  conceal  the  approach  of  this 
hour  from  him,  or  endeavour  to  engage  him  in  such  diver- 
sions as  might  make  him  forget  it  ?  "  "  Once  only,  it  is 
said,  he  passed  the  fatal  hour.  The  company  was  nume- 
rous, and  remained  together  until  late  at  night.  All  the 
clocks  and  watches  were  purposely  set  wrong,  and  the 
warmth  of  conversation  diverted  his  attention.  When  the 
moment  arrived,  he  suddenly  became  silent  and  motionless  ; 
his  limbs  continued  in  the  position  in  which  this  instant 
had  arrested  them ;  his  eyes  were  fixed,  his  pulse  ceased 
to  beat ;  all  the  means  employed  to  awake  him  proved 
fruitless,  and  this  situation  endured  till  the  hour  had 
c  3 


«3o  THE    GHOST-SEER. 

elapsed ;  he  then  revived  on  a  sudden,  and  continued  his 
speech  from  the  same  syllable  that  he  was  pronouncing  at 
the  moment  of  interruption.  The  general  consternation  dis- 
covered to  him  what  had  happened;  and  he, declared,  with 
an  awful  solemnity,  that  they  ought  to  think  themselves 
happy  in  having  escaped  with  no  other  injury  than  fear. 
The  same  night  he  quitted  for  ever  the  place  where  this 
circumstance  had  occurred.  The  common  opinion  is,  that 
during  this  mysterious  hour  he  converses  with  his  attend- 
ant spirits.  Some  even  suppose  him  to  be  one  of  the 
departed,  who  is  allowed  to  pass  twenty-three  hours  of 
the  day  among  the  living,  and  that  in  the  twenty-fourth 
his  soul  is  obliged  to  return  to  the  infernal  regions  to  suffer 
its  punishment.  Some  believe  him  to  be  the  famous  Apol- 
lonius of  Tyana*,  and  others  the  disciple  of  St.  John  the 
Baptist,  of  whom  it  is  said  that  he  shall  remain  wandering 
on  the  earth  until  the  day  of  judgment." 

"  A  character  so  wonderful,"  replied  the  Prince,  "  can- 
not fail  to  give  rise  to  extraordinary  conjectures.  But  all 
this  you  profess  to  know  only  by  hearsay ;  and  yet  his 
behaviour  to  you,  and  yours  to  him,  seemed  to  indicate  a 
more  intimate  acquaintance.  Is  it  not  founded  upon  some 
particular  event,  in  which  yourself  have  been  concerned? 
Conceal  nothing  from  us."  The  Sicilian  remained  silent, 
as  if  uncertain  whether  he  should  speak  or  not.  "  If  it 
concern  any  thing,"  said  the  Prince,  "that  you  do  not 

*  Apollonius,  a  Pythagorean  philosopher,  was  born  at  Tyana,  in  Cappadocia, 
about  three  or  four  years  before  the  birth  of  Christ.  At  sixteen  years  of  age 
he  became  a  strict  observer  of  Pythagorean  rules,  renouncing  wine,  women,  and 
all  sorts  of  flesh  ;  not  wearing  shoes,  letting  his  hair  grow,  and  clothing  himself 
with  nothing  but  linen.  He  soon  after  set  up  for  a  reformer  of  mankind,  and 
chose  his  habitation  in  the  temple  of  JEsculapius,  where  he  is  said  to  have  per- 
formed many  miraculous  cures.  On  his  coming  of  age,  he  gave  part  of  his 
wealth  to  his  eldest  brother,  distributed  another  part  to  some  poor  relations, 
and  kept  very  little  for  himself.  There  are  numberless  fabulous  stories  re- 
counted of  him.  He  went  five  years  without  speaking,  and  yet,  during  this 
time,  he  stopped  many  seditions  in  Cilicia  and  Pamphylia.  He  travelled,  set 
up  for  a  legislator,  and  gave  out  that  he  understood  all  languages  without 
having  ever  learned  them.  He  could  tell  the  thoughts  of  men,  and  understood 
he  oracles  which  birds  delivered  by  their  singing.  The  Heathens  opposed  the 
pretended  miracles  of  this  man  to  those  of  our  Saviour,  and  gave  the  preference 
to  this  philosopher.  After  having  for  a  long  time  imposed  upon  the  world, 
and  gained  a  great  number  of  disciples,  he  died  in  a  very  Advanced  age  about 
the  end  of  the  first  century.  His  life,  which  is  tilled  with  absurdities,  was 
written  by  Philostratus ;  and  M.  du  Pin  has  published  a  Confutation  of  Apol- 
lonius's  life,  in  which  he  proves,  that  the  miracles  of  this  pretended  philosopher 
carry  strong  marks  of  falsehood,  and  that  there  is  not  one  which  may  not 
b«  ascribed  to  chance  or  artifice.  Apollonius  himself  wrote  some  works  which 
are  now  lost. 


THE    GHOST-SEER.  #9 

wish  to  publish,  I  promise  you  hy  my  honour,  and  before 
these  gentlemen,  the  most  inviolable  secrecy ;  but  speak 
openly,  and  without  reserve/'  te  Could  I  hope,"  answered 
the  prisoner  at  last,  "  that  you  would  not  produce  these 
gentlemen  as  evidence  against  me,  I  would  tell  you  a 
remarkable  adventure  of  this  Armenian,  to  which  I  myself 
was  witness,  and  which  will  leave  you  no  doubt  of  his 
supernatural  powers.  But  I  beg  leave  to  conceal  some 
names."  "  Cannot  you  do  it  without  this  condition  ? " 
"  No,  your  Highness  :  there  is  a  family  concerned  in  it 
which  I  must  respect."  "  Let  us  hear  then." 

"  Above  five  years  ago,  being  at  Naples,  where  I  prac- 
tised  my  art  with  success,    I  became  acquainted  with  a 

person  of  the  name  of  Lorenzo  del  M- :,  chevalier  of  the 

order  of  St.  Stephen ;  a  young  and  rich  nobleman  of  one  of 
the  first  families  in  the  kingdom,  who  loaded  me  with 
civilities,  and  seemed  to  have  a  great  esteem  for  my  occult 

science.     He  told  me  that  the  Marquis  del  M- ,  his 

father,  was  a  zealous  admirer  of  the  cabbala  *,  and  would 
think  himself  happy  in  having  a  philosopher  like  me  (for 
such  he  was  pleased  to  call  me)  under  his  roof.  The 
Marquis  resided  in  one  of  his  country  seats  on  the  sea-shore, 
about  seven  miles  from  Naples ;  and  there,  almost  entirely 
secluded  from  the  world,  he  mourned  the  loss  of  a  beloved 
son,  of  whom  he  had  been  deprived  by  a  fatal  and  melan- 
choly accident.  The  chevalier  gave  me  to  understand,  that 
he  and  his  family  might  perhaps  have  occasion  to  employ 
my  secret  arts  in  obtaining  some  very  important  intelligence, 
to  procure  which  every  natural  means  had  been  exhausted 
in  vain.  He  added,  with  a  very  significant  look,  that 
he  himself  might  at  some  future  period  consider  me  as 

*  Cabbala  is  properly  a  mysterious  kind  of  science  delivered  by  revelation  to 
the  ancient  Jews,  and  transmitted  by  oral  tradition  to  those  of  our  times; 
serving  for  the  interpretation  of  difficult  passages  in  Scripture,  and  to  discover 
future  events  by  the  combination  of  particular  words,  letters,  and  numbers. 
It  is  likewise  termed  the  oral  law.  But  Cabbala,  among  the  Christians,  is  also 
applied  to  the  use,  or  rather  abuse,  which  visionaries  and  enthusiasts  make  of 
Scripture  for  discovering  futurity,  by  the  study  and  consideration  of  the  com- 
bination of  certain  words,  letters,  and  numbers  in  the  sacred  writings.  All  the 
words,  terms,  magif  characters,  or  figures,  with  stones  and  talismans,  numbers, 
letters,  charms,  &c.  in  magic  operations,  are  comprised  under  this  species  of 
Cabbala  ;  and  the  word  is  used  for  any  kind  of  magic,  on  account  of  the  re- 
semblance this  art  bears  to  the  Jewish  Cabbala.  The  Jews,  however,  never 
use  the  word  in  any  such  sense,  but  always  with  the  utmost  respect  and 
veneration. 

c  4 


4-0  THE    GHOST-SEER, 

the  author  of  all  his  earthly  happiness.  I  did  not  choose 
to  press  him  for  an  explanation.  The  affair  was  as  fol- 
lows : — Lorenzo,  being  the  youngest  son  of  the  Marquis, 
had  been  destined  for  the  church.  The  family  estates  were 
to  devolve  to  the  eldest.  Jeronymo,  which  was  the  name 
of  the  latter,,  had  spent  many  years  on  his  travels,  and  re- 
turned to  his  country  about  seven  years  prior  to  the  event 
which  I  am  about  to  relate,  in  order  to  celebrate  his  mar- 
riage with  the  only  daughter  of  a  neighbouring  count. 
This  marriage  had  been  determined  on  by  the  parents  during 
the  infancy  of  the  children,  in  order  to  unite  the  very  large 
fortunes  of  the  two  houses.  But  though  this  agreement 
ivas  made  by  the  two  families  without  consulting  the  hearts 
of  the  parties  concerned,  the  latter  had  secretly  entertained 

an   affection  for  each  other.     Jeronymo  del  M and 

Antonia  C had  been  always  brought  up  together;  and 

the  little  constraint  imposed  on  two  children,  whom  their 
parents  were  already  accustomed  to  regard  as  united,  soon 
produced  between  them  a  connection  of  the  tenderest  kind. 
The  congeniality  of  their  tempers  cemented  this  intimacy, 
and  in  riper  years  it  matured  insensibly  into  love.  An 
absence  of  four  years,  far  from  cooling  this  passion,  had 
only  served  to  inflame  it ;  and  Jeronymo  returned  to  the 
arms  of  his  intended  bride  as  faithful  and  as  ardent  as  if 
they  had  never  been  separated.  The  raptures  occasioned 
by  his  return  had  not  subsided,  nor  the  preparations  for 
the  happy  day  discontinued,  when  Jeronymo  disappeared. 
He  used  frequently  to  pass  the  afternoon  in  a  summer- 
house  which  commanded  a  prospect  of  the  sea,  and  was 
accustomed  to  take  the  diversion  of  sailing  on  the  water. 
One  day,  when  he  was  at  his  favourite  retirement,  it  was 
observed  that  he  remained  a  much  longer  time  than  usual 
without  returning,  and  his  friends  began  to  be  very  uneasy 
on  his  account,  Boats  were  despatched  after  him,  vessels 
were  sent  to  sea  in  quest  of  him — no  person  had  seen  him 
— none  of  his  servants  could  have  attended  him,  for  none 
of  them  were  absent — night  came  on,  and  he  did  not  ap- 
pear. The  next  morning  dawned — the  day  passed  —  the 
evening  succeeded — Jeronymo  came  not.  Already  had 
they  begun  to  give  themselves  up  to  the  most  melancholy 


THE    GHOST-SEER.  41 

conjectures,  when  the  news  arrived  that  an  Algerine  pirate 
had  landed  the  preceding  day  on  that  coast,  and  carried  off 
several  of  the  inhabitants.  Two  galleys,  ready  equipped, 
were  immediately  ordered  to  sea.  The  old  Marquis  him- 
self embarked  in  one  of  them,  to  attempt  the  deliverance  of 
his  son  at  the  peril  of  his  own  life.  On  the  third  day  they 
perceived  the  corsair.  The  wind  was  favourable  —  they 
were  just  about  to  overtake  him,  and  even  approached  so 
near  to  him,  that  Lorenzo,  who  was  in  one  of  the  galleys, 
fancied  that  he  saw,  upon  the  deck  of  the  adversary's  ship, 
a  signal  made  by  his  brother — when  a  sudden  storm  sepa- 
rated the  vessels.  Hardly  could  the  almost  shipwrecked 
galleys  sustain  the  fury  of  the  tempest.  The  pirate,  in  the 
mean  time,  had  disappeared,  and  the  distressed  state  of  the 
other  vessels  obliged  them  to  put  into  Malta.  The  afflic- 
tion of  the  family  was  beyond  all  bounds.  The  distracted 
old  Marquis  tore  his  grey  hairs  in  the  utmost  violence  of 
grief  ;  and  the  life  of  the  young  Countess  was  despaired  of. 
<f  Five  years  were  consumed  after  this  event  in  fruitless 
enquiries ;  diligent  search  was  made  all  along  the  coast  of 
Barbary  ;  and  immense  sums  were  offered  for  the  ranscm 
of  the  young  Marquis,  but  to  no  purpose.  The  only  con- 
jecture founded  on  probability  was,  that  the  same  storm 
which  had  separated  the  galleys  from  the  pirate  had 
destroyed  the  latter  vessel^  and  that  the  whole  ship's 
company  had  perished  in  the  waves.  But  this  supposition, 
however  probable,  as  it  did  not  by  any  means  amount  to  a 
certainty,  could  not  authorise  the  family  to  renounce  the 
hope  that  the  absent  Jeronymo  might  again  appear.  In 
case,  however,  that  he  did  not,  either  the  family's  name  must 
be  suffered  to  perish,  or  the  youngest  son  must  relinquish 
the  church,  and  enter  into  the  rights  of  the  eldest.  Justice 
seemed  to  oppose  the  latter  measure  ;  and,  on  the  other 
hand,  the  necessity  of  preserving  the  family  from  anni- 
hilation required  that  the  scruple  should  not  be  carried  too 
far.  In  the  mean  time,  sorrow,  added  to  the  weight  of  age, 
was  bringing  the  Marquis  fast  to  his  grave.  Every  unsuc- 
cessful attempt  served  to  increase  his  distress,  and  diminish 
the  hope  of  finding  his  lost  son.  He  saw  that  his  name 


*xS  THE    GHOST-SEER. 

might  be  perpetuated  by  acting  with  a  little  injustice,  in 
consenting  to  favour  his  younger  son  at  the  expense  of  the 

elder.     The  fulfilment  of  his  agreement  with  Count  C 

required  only  the  change  of  a  name  j  for  the  object  of  the 
two  families  was  equally  accomplished,  whether  Antonia 
became  the  wife  of  Lorenzo  or  Jeronymo.  The  faint  pro- 
bability of  the  latter's  appearing  again  weighed  but  little 
against  the  certain  and  pressing  danger  of  the  total  extinc- 
tion of  the  family  ;  and  the  old  Marquis,  who  considered 
his  dissolution  fast  approaching,  ardently  wished  to  die  free 
from  this  inquietude.  Lorenzo  alone,  who  was  to  be  prin- 
cipally benefited  by  this  measure,  opposed  it  with  the 
greatest  obstinacy.  He  resisted  with  equal  firmness  the 
allurements  of  an  immense  fortune,  and  the  attractions  of 
a  beautiful  and  accomplished  object  ready  to  be  delivered 
into  his  arms.  He  refused,  on  principles  the  most  generous 
and  conscientious,  to  invade  the  rights  of  a  brother,  who 
for  any  thing  he  knew  might  himself  be  in  a  capacity  to 
resume  them. 

"  '  Is  not  the  lot  of  my  Jeronymo/  said  he,  '  made  suf- 
ficiently miserable  by  the  horrors  of  a  long  captivity,  with- 
out the  aggravation  of  being  deprived  for  ever  of  all  that 
he  holds  most  dear  ?  With  what  conscience  could  I  sup- 
plicate Heaven  for  his  return,  when  his  wife  is  in  my  arms? 
With  what  countenance  could  I  meet  him,  if  at  last  he 
should  be  restored  to  us  by  a  miracle  ?  And  even  suppos- 
ing that  he  is  torn  from  us  for  ever,  can  we  honour  his 
memory  better  than  by  keeping  constantly  open  the  chasm 
which  his  death  has  caused  in  our  circle  ?  Can  we  better 
show  our  respects  to  him  than  by  sacrificing  our  dearest 
hopes  upon  his  tomb,  and  keeping  untouched,  as  a  sacred 
deposit,  what  was  peculiarly  his  own  ? '  But  these  argu- 
ments of  fraternal  delicacy  could  not  reconcile  the  old 
Marquis  to  the  idea  of  being  obliged  to  witness  the  decay 
of  a  tree  which  nine  centuries  had  beheld  flourishing.  All 
that  Lorenzo  could  obtain  was  a  delay  of  two  years.  During 
this  period  they  continued  their  enquiries  with  the  utmost 
diligence.  Lorenzo  himself  made  several  voyages,  and  ex- 
posed his  person  to  many  dangers.  No  trouble,  no  ex- 


THE    GHOST-SEER.  43 

pense,  was  spared  to  recover  the  lost  Jeronymo.  These 
two  years,  however,  like  those  which  preceded  them,  were 
consumed  in  vain." 

te  And  Antonia,"  said  the  Prince. — "  You  tell  us  nothing 
of  her.  Could  she  so  calmly  submit  to  her  fate  ?  I  can- 
not suppose  it." 

"  Antonia,"  answered  the  Sicilian,  "  experienced  the 
most  violent  struggle  between  duty  and  inclination,  between 
dislike  and  admiration.  The  disinterested  generosity  of  a 
brother  affected  her.  She  felt  herself  forced  to  esteem  a 
person  whom  she  could  never  love.  Her  heart,  torn  by  con- 
trary sentiments,  felt  the  bitterest  distress ;  but  her  repug- 
nance to  the  chevalier  seemed  to  increase  in  the  same 
degree  as  his  claims  upon  her  esteem  augmented.  Lorenzo 
perceived  with  heartfelt  sorrow  the  secret  grief  that  con- 
sumed her  youth*  An  unconquerable  sympathy  for  her 
misfortune  insensibly  eradicated  that  indifference  with  which 
till  then  Lorenzo  had  been  accustomed  to  consider  her.  But 
this  delusive  sentiment  deceived  him,  and  an  ungovernable 
passion  began  rapidly  to  shake  the  steadiness  of  his  virtue, 
which  till  then  had  been  unequalled.  He,  however,  still 
ob'eyed  the  dictates  of  generosity,  though  at  the  expense  of 
his  love.  By  his  efforts  alone  was  the  unfortunate  victim 
protected  against  the  cruel  and  arbitrary  proceedings  of  the 
rest  of  the  family.  But  his  endeavours  were  ineffectual. 
Every  victory  he  gained  over  his  passion  rendered  him  more 
worthy  of  Antonia ;  and  the  disinterestedness  with  which 
he  refused  her,  left  her  without  an  apology  for  resistance. 
Thus  were  affairs  situated,  when  the  chevalier  engaged  me 
to  visit  him  at  his  father's  villa.  The  earnest  recommend- 
ation of  my  patron  procured  me  a  reception  which  ex- 
ceeded my  most  sanguine  wishes.  I  must  not  forget  to 
mention,  that,  by  some  remarkable  operations,  I  had 
previously  rendered  my  name  famous  in  different  lodges 
of  free-masons.  This  circumstance  perhaps  contributed  to 
strengthen  the  old  Marquis's  confidence  in  me,  and  to 
heighten  his  expectations.  I  beg  you  will  excuse  me  from 
describing  particularly  the  lengths  I  went  with  him,  or  the 
means  which  I  employed.  You  may  form  some  judgment 
of  them  from  what  I  have  before  confessed  to  you.  Profit- 


44  THE    GHOST-SEER. 

ing  by  the  mystic  books  which  I  found  in  his  very  extensive 
library,  I  was  soon  able  to  speak  to  him  in  his  own  lan- 
guage, and  to  adorn  my  system  of  the  invisible  world  with 
the  most  extraordinary  inventions.  He  was  therefore  with 
so  little  difficulty  induced  to  credit  the  fables  I  taught  him, 
that  in  a  short  time  he  would  have  believed  as  implicitly  in 
the  secret  commerce  of  philosophers  and  sylphs  as  in  any 
article  of  the  canon.  The  Marquis,  being  very  religious, 
had  acquired  in  the  school  of  theology  a  facility  of  belief, 
which  caused  him  at  once  to  be  fascinated  with  the  stories 
I  told  him,  and  to  put  the  most  unreserved  confidence  in 
my  character.  At  length  I  entangled  him  so  completely  in 
mystery,  that  he  would  no  longer  believe  any  thing  that 
was  natural.  In  short,  I  became  the  adored  apostle  of  the 
house.  The  usual  subject  of  my  lectures  was  the  exaltartiori 
of  human  nature,  and  the  intercourse  of  men  with  superior 
things;  the  infallible  Count  Gabolis*  was  my  oracle.  An- 
tonia,  whose  mind  since  the  loss  of  her  lover  had  been  more 
occupied  in  the  world  of  spirits  than  in  that  of  nature,  and 
who  had  a  strong  tincture  of  melancholy  in  her  composition, 
caught  every  hint  I  gave  her  with  a  fearful  satisfaction. 
Even  the  servants  contrived  to  have  some  business  in  me 
room  when  I  was  speaking,  and,  seizing  part  of  my  con- 
versation, formed  from  it  mysterious  presages.  —  Two 
months  were  passed  in  this  manner  at  the  Marquis's  villa, 
when  the  chevalier  one  morning  entered  my  apartment. 
His  features  had  experienced  a  considerable  alteration,  and 
from  his  sorrowful  countenance  I  suspected  that  something 
preyed  upon  his  mind. — He  threw  himself  upon  a  couch 
with  every  symptom  of  despair. 

.  <(  '  I  am  distracted,  ruined/  said  he  ;  e  I  must,  I  cannot 
support  it  any  longer.'  '  What  is  the  matter  with  you, 
chevalier  ?  •  What  has  befallen  you  ? '  '  Oh  !  this  terrible 
passion  ! '  said  he,  starting  from  his  seat,  and  throwing 
himself  into  my  arms.  '  I  have  combated  against  it  like  a 
man,  but  can  resist  it  no  longer/  '  And  whose  fault  is  it  but 
your  own,  my  dear  chevalier*?  Are  they  not  all  willing  to 
gratify  this  passion  ?  Your  father  ?  Your  relations  ? ' 
'  My  father  !  my  relations  !  What  are  they  to  me  ?  I  want 

*  A  mystical  work  written  in  French  by  the  Abbe  de  Villars. 


THE    GHOST-SEER.  4)O 

not  to  be  united  to  her  by  force.  Have  not  I  a  rival  ? 
Alas  !  and  what  a  rival  !  Perhaps  a  dead  one  !  Oh  !  let  me 
go,  let  me  go  to  the  end  of  the  world  ;  I  must  find  my 
brother.'  '  What !  after  so  many  unsuccessful  attempts, 
have  you  still  any  hope  ? '  '  Hope  !  Alas,  no !  It  has  long 
since  been  banished  from  my  heart,  but  it  has  not  from 
hers ;  of  what  consequence  are  my  sentiments  ?  Is  it  pos- 
sible that  I  should  be  happy  whilst  there  remains  a  gleam 
of  hope  in  Antonia's  breast.  Two  words,  my  friend,  would 
end  my  torments,  but  in  vain ;  my  destiny  must  continue 
to  be  miserable,  till  eternity  shall  break  its  long  silence,  and 
the  grave  shall  speak  in  my  behalf.'  '  Is  it  then  a  state  of 
certainty  that  would  render  you  happy  ? '  f  Happy  !  Alas  ! 
I  doubt  whether  I  shall  ever  be  happy  again  ;  but  uncer- 
tainty is  of  all  others  the  most  dreadful  affliction.' 

"  After  a  short  interval  of  silence,  he  continued  with  an 
emotion  less  violent :  — '  If  he  could  see  my  torments !  Surely 
a  constancy  which  renders  his  brother  miserable  cannot  add 
to  his  happiness  !  Can  it  be  just,  that  the  living  should  suffer 
so  much  for  the  sake  of  the  dead  ;  that  I  should  fruitlessly 
pine  for  an  object  which  Jeronymo  can  no  longer  enjoy  ? 
If  he  knew  the  pangs  I  suffer,'  (said  he,  concealing  his  face 
while  the  tears  streamed  from  his  eyes,)  '  perhaps  he  himself 
would  conduct  her  to  my  arms.'  '  But  is  there  no  possibility 
of  gratifying  your  wishes  ? '  He  started  !  '  What  do  you- 
say,  my  friend  ? '  '  Less  important  occasions  than  the  pre- 
sent,' said  I,  '  have  disturbed  the  repose  of  the  dead  for  the 
sake  of  the  living;  is  not  the  terrestrial  happiness  of  a 
man,  of  a  brother  — '  '  The  terrestrial  happiness  !  Ah, 
my  friend,  I  feel  but  too  sensibly  the  force  of  your  expres- 
sion —  my  entire  felicity  ! '  '  And  the  tranquillity  of  a 
distressed  family,  are  not  these  sufficient  to  justify  such  a 
measure  ?  If  any  sublunary  concern  can  authorise  us  to 
interrupt  the  peace  of  the  blessed,  to  make  use  of  a  power 
—  '  '  For  God's  sake,  my  friend  ! '  said  he,  interrupting 
me,  fno  more  of  this — once,  I  avow  it,  I  had  such  a 
thought ;  I  think  I  mentioned  it  to  you ;  but  I  have  long 
since  rejected  it  as  horrid  and  abominable.' 

"  You  will  have  conjectured  already,"  continued  the  Si- 
cilian, "  to  what  this  conversation  led  us ;  I  endeavoured 


46  THE    GHOST-SEER. 

to  overcome  the  scruples  of  the  chevalier,,  and  at  last  suc- 
ceeded.— We  resolved  to  call  the  ghost  of  the  deceased  Je- 
ronymo ;  I  only  stipulated  for  a  delay  of  a  fortnight,  in 
order,  as  I  pretended,  to  prepare,  in  a  suitable  manner,  for 
an  act  so  solemn.  —  The  time  being  expired,  and  my  ma- 
chinery in  readiness,  I  took  advantage  of  a  very  gloomy  day, 
when  we  were  all  assembled  as  usual,  to  communicate  the  affair 
to  the  family ;  and  not  only  brought  them  to  consent  to  it, 
but  even  to  make  it  a  subject  of  their  own  request.  —  The 
most  difficult  part  of  the  task  was  to  obtain  the  approbation 
of  Antonia,  whose  presence  was  essential. — My  endeavours 
were,  however,  greatly  assisted  by  the  melancholy  turn  of 
her  mind,  and  perhaps  still  more  so  by  a  faint  hope  that 
Jeronymo  might  still  be  living,  and  therefore  would  not  ap- 
pear. —  A  want  of  confidence  in  the  thing  itself  was  the 
only  obstacle  which  I  had  to  remove.  —  Having  obtained 
the  consent  of  the  family,  the  third  day  was  fixed  on  for  the 
operation  ;  I  prepared  then  for  the  solemn  transaction,  by 
mystical  instruction,  fasting,  solitude,  and  prayers,  which  I 
ordered  to  be  continued  till  late  in  the  night.  —  Much  use 
was  also  made  of  a  certain  musical  instrument  *,  unknown 
till  that  time ;  and,  in  such  cases,  it  has  often  been  found 
very  powerful.  —  The  effect  of  these  artifices  was  so  much 
beyond  my  expectation,  that  the  enthusiasm  which  on  this 
occasion  I  was  obliged  to  show,  was  infinitely  heightened 
by  that  of  my  audience.  —  The  long-expected  moment  at 
last  arrived." 

"  I  guess,"  said  the  Prince,  "whom  you  are  now  going  to 
introduce.  —  But  go  on,  go  on."  "  Your  Highness  is  mis- 
taken.—  The  deception  succeeded  according  to  my  wishes/' 
"  How !  Where  then  is  the  Armenian  ?"  "  Your  Highness's 
patience :  he  will  appear  but  too  soon.  I  omit  the  description 
of  the  juggling  farce  itself,  as  it  would  be  too  tedious  to  re- 
late. —  It  is  sufficient  to  say,  that  it  answered  my  expect- 
ation ;  the  old  Marquis,  the  young  Countess,  her  mother, 
Lorenzo,  and  several  other  persons  of  the  family  were  pre- 
sent.—  You  will  imagine,  that  during  my  long  residence  in 
the  house  I  took  all  opportunities  of  gathering  information 
respecting  every  thing  that  concerned  the  deceased. —  Seve- 

*  The  JEoIian  harp. 


THE    GHOST-SEER.  47 

ral  of  his  portraits  enabled  me  to  give  the  apparition  a  strik- 
ing likeness  ;  and  as  I  suffered  the  ghost  to  speak  only  by 
signs,  that  the  sound  of  his  voice  might  excite  no  suspicion, 
the  departed  Jeronymo  appeared  in  the  dress  of  a  Moorish 
slave,  with  a  deep  wound  in  his  neck.  —  You  observe,  that 
in  this  respect  I  was  counteracting  the  general  supposition 
that  he  had  perished  in  the  waves.  I  had  reason  to  hope, 
that  this  unexpected  circumstance  would  heighten  the  belief 
in  the  apparition  itself ;  for  nothing  appeared  to  me  more 
dangerous  than  to  be  too  natural." 

"  I  think  you  judged  well,"  said  the  Prince ;  "  in 
whatever  respects  apparitions,  the  most  probable  is  the 
least  acceptable.  If  their  communications  are  easily  com- 
prehended, we  undervalue  the  channel  by  which  they  are 
obtained ;  nay,  we  even  suspect  the  reality  of  the  miracle, 
if  the  discoveries  which  it  brings  to  light  are  such  as  might 
easily  have  been  imagined.  —  Why  should  we  disturb  the 
repose  of  a  spirit,  to  inform  us  of  nothing  more  than  the 
ordinary  powers  of  the  intellect  are  capable  of  teaching  us  ? 
—  But,  on  the  other  hand,  if  the  intelligence  which  we 
receive  be  extraordinary  and  unexpected,  it  confirms,  in 
some  degree,  the  miracle  by  which  it  is  obtained  ;  for  who 
can  doubt  an  operation  to  be  supernatural,  when  its  effect 
could  not  be  produced  by  natural  means  ?  I  have  inter- 
rupted you,"  added  the  Prince  :  "  proceed  in  your  nar- 
rative." "  I  asked  the  ghost,  whether  there  was  any 
thing  in  this  world  which  he  still  considered  as  his  own, 
and  whether  he  had  left  any  thing  behind  that  was  par- 
ticularly dear  to  him  ?  The  ghost  thrice  shook  his  head, 
and  lifted  up  his  hands  towards  heaven.  Previous  to  his 
retiring,  he  dropped  a  ring  from  his  finger,  which  was  found 
on  the  floor  after  he  had  disappeared  ;  Antonia  took  it, 
and,  looking  at  it  attentively,  she  knew  it  to  be  the  wed- 
ding-ring she  had  presented  to  her  intended  husband." 

"  The  wedding-ring  ! "  exclaimed  the  Prince,  with  sur- 
prise. "  How  did  you  get  it  ? "  "  Who  ?  —  I  !  —  It 
was  not  the  true  one  !  —  I  procured  it.  —  It  was  only  a 
counterfeit."  "  A  counterfeit !"  repeated  the  Prince.  "  But 
in  order  to  counterfeit,  you  must  have  been  in  possession 
of  the  true  one.  How  did  you  come  at  it  ?  Surely  the 


48  THE    GHOSJ--SEER. 

deceased  never  went  without  it."  fc  That  is  true,"  replied 
the  Sicilian,  apparently  confused.  (i  But,  from  a  descrip- 
tion which  was  given  me  of  the  original  wedding-ring — " 
( f  A  description  which  was  given  you  !  by  whom  ? " 
ff  Long  before  that  time.  It  was  a  plain  gold  ring,  and 
had,  I  believe,  the  name  of  the  young  Countess  engraved 
on  it.  But  you  make  me  lose  the  connection." 

"  What  happened  farther  ?  "  said  the  Prince,  with  a 
very  dissatisfied  countenance.  fc  The  family  fancied  them- 
selves convinced  that  Jeronymo  was  no  more.  From  that 
very  day  they  publicly  announced  his  death,  and  went 
into  mourning.  The  circumstance  of  the  ring  left  no 
doubt  even  in  the  mind  of  Antonia,  and  added  a  consider- 
able weight  to  the  addresses  of  the  chevalier.  In  the 
mean  time,  the  violent  impression  which  the  young  Coun- 
tess had  received  from  the  sight  of  the  apparition  brought 
on  her  a  disorder  so  dangerous,  that  the  hopes  of  Lorenzo 
were  very  near  being  destroyed  for  ever.  On  her  recover- 
ing, she  insisted  upon  taking  the  veil ;  and  it  was  only  by 
the  serious  remonstrances  of  her  confessor,  in  whom  she 
placed  an  implicit  confidence,  that  she  was  brought  to 
abandon  her  project.  At  length,  the  united  solicitations  of 
the  family,  aided  by  the  confessor,  wrested  from  her  the 
desired  consent.  The  last  day  of  mourning  was  fixed  on 
for  the  day  of  marriage,  and  the  old  Marquis  determined 
to  add  to  the  solemnity  of  the  occasion,  by  resigning  all 
his  estates  to  his  lawful  heir.  The  day  arrived,  and 
Lorenzo  received  his  trembling  bride  at  the  altar.  In  the 
evening,  a  splendid  banquet  was  prepared  for  the  guests, 
in  a  hall  superbly  illuminated.  The  most  lively  and  de- 
lightful music  contributed  to  increase  the  general  joy  of 
the  assembly.  The  venerable  Marquis  wished  all  the 
world  to  participate  in  his  felicity.  The  gates  of  the 
palace  were  thrown  open,  and  every  one  that  came  in  was 
joyfully  welcomed.  In  the  midst  of  the  throng " 

The  Sicilian  paused  —  a  trembling  expectation  sus- 
pended our  breath.  "  In  the  midst  of  the  throng,"  con- 
tinued the  prisoner,  "  appeared  a  Franciscan  monk,  to 
whom  my  attention  was  directed  by  a  person  who  sat  next 
to  me  at  table.  He  was  standing  motionless  like  a  marble 


THE    GHOST-SEER.  49 

pillar.  His  shape  was  tall  and  thin ;  his  face  pale  and 
ghastly;  his  aspect  grave  and  mournful;  and  his  eyes 
were  fixed  on  the  new-married  couple.  The  joy  which 
beamed  on  the  face  of  every  one  present,  appeared  not  on 
his.  His  countenance  never  once  varied.  He  seemed 
like  a  statue  among  living  persons.  Such  an  object,  ap- 
pearing amidst  the  general  joy,  struck  me  more  forcibly 
from  its  contrast  with  every  thing  around  me.  It  left  on 
my  mind  so  durable  an  impression,  that  from  it  alone  I 
have  been  enabled  (which  would  otherwise  have  been  im- 
possible) to  recollect  in  the  Russian  officer  the  features  of 
this  Franciscan  monk ;  for  without  doubt  you  must  have 
already  conceived,  that  the  person  I  have  described  was  no 
other  than  your  Armenian.  I  frequently  attempted  to 
withdraw  my  eyes  from  this  figure,  but  they  returned  in- 
voluntarily, and  found  him  always  unaltered.  I  pointed 
him  out  to  the  person  who  sat  nearest  to  me  on  the  other 
side,  and  he  did  the  same  to  the  person  next  to  him.  In 
a  few  minutes,  a  general  curiosity  and  astonishment  per- 
vaded the  whole  company.  The  conversation  languished  ; 
a  general  silence  succeeded ;  nor  did  the  monk  interrupt 
it.  He  continued  motionless,  and  always  the  same ;  his 
grave  and  mournful  looks  constantly  fixed  upon  the  new- 
married  couple  :  —  His  appearance  struck  every  one  with 
terror.  The  young  Countess  ak»ne,  who  found  the  tran- 
script of  her  own  sorrow  in  the  face  of  the  stranger,  beheld 
with  a  sullen  satisfaction  the  only  object  that  seemed  to 
sympathise  in  her  sufferings.  The  crowd  insensibly  di- 
minished, for  it  was  past  midnight.  The  music  became 
faint  and  languid ;  the  tapers  grew  dim,  and  many  of  them 
went  out.  The  conversation,  declining  by  degrees,  lost 
itself  at  last  in  secret  murmurs,  and  the  faintly  illuminated 
hall  was  nearly  deserted.  The  monk,  in  the  mean  time, 
continued  motionless,  his  grave  and  mournful  look  still 
fixed  on  the  new-married  couple.  The  company  at  length 
rose  from  the  table.  The  guests  dispersed.  The  family 
assembled  in  a  separate  group,  and  the  monk,  though  un- 
invited, continued  near  them.  How  it  happened  that  no 
person  spoke  to  him,  I  cannot  conceive.  The  female 
friends  now  surrounded  the  trembling  bride,  who  cast  a 

VOL.  I.  D 


50  THE    GHOST-SEER. 

supplicating  and  distressed  look  on  the  awful  stranger ; 
but  he  did  not  answer  it.  The  gentlemen  assembled  in 
the  same  manner  around  the  bridegroom.  A  solemn  and 
anxious  silence  prevailed  among  them. 

"  At  length  — '  How  happy  we  are  here  together  ! ' 
said  the  old  Marquis,  who  alone  seemed  not  to  behold  the 
stranger,,  or  at  least  seemed  to  behold  him  without  dismay. 
—  e  How  happy  we  are  here  together  !  and  yet  my  son  Jero- 
nymo  cannot  be  with  us  ! '  '  Have  you  not  invited  him, 
and  did  not  he  answer  your  invitation  ? '  asked  the  monk.  It 
was  the  first  time  he  had  spoken.  We  looked  at  him 
alarmed.  '  Alas  !  he  is  gone  to  a  place  whence  there  is 
no  return/  answered  the  old  man.  '  Reverend  father,  you 
misunderstood  me  ;  — my  son  Jeronymo  is  dead.'  '  Per- 
haps he  only  fears  to  appear  in  this  company/  replied  the 
monk.  '  Who  knows  how  your  son  Jeronymo  may  be 
situated  >  Let  him  now  hear  the  voice  which  he  heard 
the  last.  Desire  your  son  Lorenzo  to  call  him.'  (  What 
does  he  mean  ? '  whispered  the  company  one  to  another. 

"  Lorenzo  changed  colour.  My  own  hair  almost  stood 
erect  on  my  head.  In  the  mean  time  the  monk  approached 
a  sideboard.  He  took  a  glass  of  wine,  and  bringing  it  to 
his  lips,  —  '  To  the  memory  of  our  dear  Jeronymo/  said 
he  :  '  every  one  who  loved  the  deceased  will  follow  my 
example.'  '  Wherever  you  come  from,  reverend  father,' 
exclaimed  the  old  Marquis,  e  you  have  pronounced  a 
dearly  beloved  name,  and  you  are  welcome  here  /  then 
turning  to  us,  he  offered  us  full  glasses  — '  Come,  my 
friends  !  let  us  not  be  surpassed  by  a  stranger.  The 
memory  of  my  son  Jeronymo  !'  Never,  I  believe,  was 
any  toast  less  heartily  received.  '  There  is  one  glass  left,' 
said  the  Marquis.  '  Why  does  my  son  Lorenzo  refuse  to 
pay  this  friendly  tribute  ? '  Lorenzo  tremblingly  received 
the  glass  from  the  hands  of  the  monk,  —  tremblingly  he 
put  it  to  his  lips.  —  (  My  dearly  beloved  brother  Jero- 
nymo ! '  .  The  name  trembled  on  his  tongue,  and,  being 
seized  with  horror,  he  replaced  the  glass  unemptied. 
f  That  is  the  voice  of  my  murderer !'  exclaimed  a  terrible 
figure,  which  appeared  instantaneously  in  the  midst  of  us, 
covered  with  blood,  and  disfigured  with  horrible  wounds. 


THE    GHOST-SEER.  51 


'  "  But  ask  nothing  further  from  me,"  added  the  Sicilian, 
with  every  symptom  of  horror  in  his  countenance.  "  I 
lost  my  senses  the  moment  I  looked  at  this  apparition.  The 
same  happened  to  every  one  present.  When  we  recovered, 
the  monk  and  the  ghost  had  disappeared.  Lorenzo  was  in 
the  agonies  of  death.  He  was  carried  to  hed  in  the  most 
dreadful  convulsions.  No  person  attended  him  hut  his 
confessor  and  the  sorrowful  old  Marquis,  in  whose  presence 
he  expired ;  —  the  Marquis  died  a  few  weeks  after  him. 
Lorenzo's  secret  is  concealed  in  the  bosom  of  the  priest 
who  received  his  last  confession,  and  no  person  ever  learned 
what  it  was.  Soon  after  this  event,  a  deep  well  was  cleaned 
in  the  farm  yard  of  the  Marquis's  villa.  It  had  been  dis- 
used many  years,  and  the  mouth  of  it  was  almost  closed  up 
by  shrubs  and  old  trees.  A 'skeleton  was  found  among 
the  rubbish.  The  house  where  this  happened  is  now  no 

more;  the  family  del  M is  extinct,  and  Antonia's 

tomb  may  be  seen  in  a  convent  not  far  from  Salerno." 

Astonishment  kept  us  silent.  "  You  see,"  continued 
the  Sicilian,  "  how  my  acquaintance  with  the  Russian 
officer,  Armenian  or  Franciscan  friar,  has  originated.  Judge 
whether  I  had  not  cause  to  tremble  at  the  sight  of  a  being 
who  has  twice  placed  himself  in  my  way  in  a  manner  so 
terrible."  te  I  beg  you  will  answer  me  one  question  more," 
said  the  Prince,  rising  from  his  seat ;  t(  Have  you  been 
sincere  in  your  account  of  the  chevalier  ?  "  "  Yes,  your 
Highness,  to  the  best  of  my  knowledge."  "  You  really 
believe  him  to  be  an  honest  man?"  "  I  do,  by  heaven  1 
I  believe  him  to  be  an  honest  man."  "  Even  &t  the  time 
that  he  gave  you  the  ring  ? "  "  How  !  he  gave  me  no 
ring.  I  did  not  say  that  he  gave  me  the  ring." 

te  Very  well ! "  said  the  Prince,  pulling  the  bell,  and 
preparing  to  depart.  "  And  you  believe"  (going  back  to 
the  prisoner)  "  that  the  ghost  of  the  Marquis  de  Lanoy, 
which  the  Russian  officer  introduced  after  your  apparition, 
was  a  real  ghost  ?  "  "I  cannot  think  otherwise."  "  Let 
us  go!"  said  the  Prince,  addressing  himself  to  us.  The 
gaoler  came  in.  "  We  have  done,"  said  the  Prince  to 
him.  "  As  for  you,"  turning  to  the  prisoner,  "  you  shall 
hear  farther  from  me."  "  I  am  tempted  to  ask  your  High- 
D  2 


52  THE    GHOST-SEER. 

ness  the  last  question  you  proposed  to  the  conjurer/'  said 
I  to  the  Prince,  when  we  were  alone.  "  Do  you  believe 
the  second  ghost  to  have  been  a  real  one  ? "  (t  I  believe 
it !  No,  not  now,  most  assuredly."  "  Not  now  ?  Then 
you  did  once  believe  it."  ((  I  confess  I  was  tempted  for  a 
moment  to  believe  it  to  have  been  something  more  than 
the  contrivance  of  a  juggler ;  and  I  could  wish  to  see  the 
man,  who  under  similar  circumstances  would  not  have 
formed  the  same  supposition."  "  But  what  reason  have 
you  for  altering  your  opinion  ?  What  the  prisoner  has 
related  of  the  Armenian,  ought  to  increase  rather  than 
diminish  your  belief  in  his  supernatural  powers." 

' '  What  this  wretch  has  related  of  him ! "  said  the 
Prince,  interrupting  me  very  gravely.  "  I  hope,"  con- 
tinued he,  "  you  have  not  now  any  doubt  that  we  have 
had  to  do  with  a  villain."  "  No ;  but  must  his  evidence 
on  that  account — "  "  The  evidence  of  a  villain  !  Sup- 
pose I  had  no  other  reason  for  doubt,  the  evidence  of  such 
a  person  can  be  of  no  weight  against  common  sense  and 
established  truth.  Does  a  man  who  has  already  deceived 
me  several  times,  and  whose  trade  it  is  to  deceive,  does  he 
deserve  to  be  heard  in  a  cause  in  which  the  unsupported 
testimony  of  even  the  most  sincere  adherent  to  truth  could 
not  be  received  ?  Ought  we  to  believe  a  man  who  per- 
haps never  once  spoke  truth  for  its  own  sake  ?  Does  such 
a  man  deserve  credit,  when  he  appears  as  evidence  against 
human  reason  and  the  eternal  laws  of  nature  ?  Would  it 
not  be  as  absurd  as  to  admit  the  accusation  of  a  person 
notoriously  infamous  against  unblemished  and  reproachless 
innocence  ?  "  "  But  what  motives  could  he  have  for  giv- 
ing so  great  a  character  to  a  man  whom  he  has  so  many 
reasons  to  hate  ?  "  "  I  am  not  to  conclude  that  he  can 
have  no  motives  for  doing  this,  because  I  am  unable 
to  comprehend  them  ?  Do  I  know  who  has  bribed  him  to 
.deceive  me?  I  confess  I  cannot  penetrate  through  the 
mystery  of  this  plan ;  but  he  has  certainly  done  a  material 
injury  to  the  cause  he  contends  for,  by  showing  himself  at 
least  an  impostor,  and  perhaps  something  worse."  ec  The 
circumstance  of  the  ring,  I  allow,  appears  suspicious." 

"  It  is  more  than  suspicious ;  it  is  decisive.    He  received 


THE    GHOST-SEEB.  53 

this  ring  from  the  murderer.  Let  us  even  suppose  the 
circumstances  he  has  related  are  true ;  at  the  moment  he 
received  it,  he  must  have  been  certain  that  it  was  from  the 
perpetrator  of  the  murder.  Who  hut  the  assassin  could 
have  taken  from  Jeronymo's  finger  a  ring,  which  he  un- 
doubtedly never  was  without  ?  Throughout  the  whole  of 
his  narration,  the  Sicilian  has  laboured  to  persuade  us, 
that  while  he  was  endeavouring  to  deceive  Lorenzo,  Lo- 
renzo was  in  reality  deceiving  him.  Would  he  have  had 
recourse  to  this  subterfuge,  if  he  had  not  been  sensible  that 
he  should  lose  much  of  our  confidence,  by  confessing  him- 
self an  accomplice  with  the  assassin  ?  The  whole  story  is 
visibly  nothing  but  a  series  of  impostures,  invented  merely 
to  connect  the  few  truths  he  has  thought  proper  to  give  us. 
Ought  I  then  to  hesitate  in  disbelieving  the  eleventh  as- 
sertion of  a  person  who  has  already  deceived  me  ten  times, 
rather  than  admit  a  violation  of  the  fundamental  laws  of 
nature,  which  I  have  ever  found  in  the  most  perfect  har- 
mony ? "  "  I  have  nothing  to  reply  to  all  this ;  but  the 
apparition  we  saw  is  to  me  not  the  less  incomprehensible." 
"  It  is  also  incomprehensible  to  me,  although  I  have  been 
tempted  to  find  a  key  to  it."  "  How  ?  "  "  Do  not  you 
recollect  that  the  second  apparition,  as  soon  as  he  entered, 
walked  directly  up  to  the  altar,  took  the  crucifix  in  his 
hand,  and  placed  himself  upon  the  carpet  ? "  "  It  ap- 
peared so  to  me."  (f  And  this  crucifix,  according  to  the 
Sicilian's  confession,  was  a  conductor.  You  see,  that  the 
apparition  hastened  to  make  himself  electrical.  Thus  the 
blow  which  Lord  Seymour  struck  him  with  his  sword, 
must  of  necessity  be  ineffectual,  the  electric  stroke  having 
disabled  his  arm."  "  That  is  true  with  respect  to  the 
sword.  But  the  pistol  fired  by  the  Sicilian,  the  ball  of 
which  rolled  slowly  upon  the  altar — "  "  Are  you  con- 
vinced that  this  was  the  same  ball  which  was  fired  from 
the  pistol  ?  Not  to  mention  that  the  puppet,  or  the  man 
who  represented  the  ghost,  may  have  been  so  well  ac- 
coutred as  to  be  invulnerable  by  swords  or  bullets;  but 
consider  who  had  loaded  the  pistols." 

et  True,"  said  I ;   and  a  sudden  light  darted  into  my 
mind.     "  The  Russian  officer  had  loaded  them,  but  it  was 
D  3 


34  THE    GHOST-SEER. 

in  our  presence.  How  could  he  have  deceived  us?" 
ff  Why  should  he  not  have  deceived  us  ?  Did  you  suspect 
him  sufficiently  to  observe  him  ?  Did  you  examine  the 
ball  before  it  was  put  into  the  pistol  ?  It  may  have  been 
one  of  quicksilver  or  clay.  Did  you  take  notice  whether 
the  Russian  officer  really  put  it  into  the  barrel,  or  dropped 
it  into  his  other  hand?  But  supposing  that  he  actually 
loaded  the  pistols,  how  can  you  be  sure  that  he  did  not 
leave  them  behind  him,  and  take  some  unloaded  ones  into 
the  room  where  the  ghost  appeared.  He  might  very  easily 
have  exchanged  them  while  we  were  undressing.  No  per- 
son ever  thought  of  noticing  him  in  particular.  It  is  very 
possible,  too,  that  the  figure,  at  the  moment  when  we  were 
prevented  from  seeing  it  by  the  smoke  of  the  pistol,  might 
have  dropped  another  ball  on  the  altar.  Which  of  these 
conjectures  is  impossible?"  "  Your  Highness  is  right- 
But  that  striking  resemblance  to  your  deceased  friend !  I 
have  often  seen  him  with  you,  and  I  immediately  recog- 
nised him  in  the  apparition."  "  I  did  the  same,  and  I  must 
confess  the  illusion  was  complete  ;  but  as  the  juggler,  from 
a  few  secret  glances  at  the  snuff-box,  was  able  to  give  to 
his  apparition  such  a  likeness  as  deceived  us  both,  what  was 
to  prevent  the  Russian  officer  (who  had  used  the  box  during 
the  whole  time  of  supper,  who  had  liberty  to  observe  the 
picture  unnoticed,  and  to  whom  I  had  discovered  in  confi- 
dence the  person  it  represented)  from  doing  the  same  ? 
Add  to  this,  what  has  been  before  observed  by  the  Sicilian, 
that  the  prominent  features  of  the  Marquis  were  so  striking 
as  to  be  easily  imitated.  What  now  remains  to  be  explained 
respecting  the  second  ghost  ? "  "  The  words  he  uttered, 
the  information  he  gave  you  about  your  friend/'  "  What ! 
Did  not  the  juggler  assure  us,  that  from  the  little  which  he 
had  learned  from  me,  he  had  composed  a  similar  story  ? 
Does  not  this  prove  that  the  invention  was  obvious  and  na- 
tural ?  Beside,  the  answers  of  the  ghost,  like  those  of  an 
oracle,  were  so  obscure,  that  he  was  in  no  danger  of  being 
detected  in  a  falsehood.  If  the  man  who  personated  the 
ghost  possessed  sagacity  and  presence  of  mind,  and  knew 
ever  so  little  of  the  affairs  on  which  he  was  consulted,  to 
what  length  might  he  not  have  carried  the  deception  ?" 


THE    GHOST-SEER.  55 

ff  I  beg  your  Highness  to  consider,  how  much  preparation 
such  a  complicated  artifice  would  have  required  from  the 
Armenian ;  what  a  time  it  requires  to  paint  a  face  with 
sufficient  exactness ;  what  a  time  would  have  been  requisite 
to  instruct  the  pretended  ghost,  so  as  to  guard  him  against 
gross  errors ;  what  a  degree  of  minute  attention  to  regulate 
every  attendant  or  adventitious  circumstance  which  might 
be  useful  or  detrimental.  And  remember,  that  the  Russian 
officer  was  absent  but  half  an  hour.  Was  that  short  space 
sufficient  to  make  even  such  arrangements  as  were  indis- 
pensably necessary  ?  Surely  not.  Even  a  dramatic  writer, 
who  has  the  least  desire  to  preserve  the  three  unities  of 
Aristotle,  durst  not  venture  to  load  the  interval  between  one 
act  and  another  with  such  a  variety  of  actions,  or  to  sup- 
pose in  his  audience  such  a  facility  of  belief."  "  What ! 
You  think  it  absolutely  impossible  that  every  necessary  pre- 
paration should  have  been  made  in  the  space  of  half  an 
hour."  "  Indeed,  I  look  upon  it  as  almost  impossible." 
"  I  do  not  understand  this  expression.  Does  it  militate 
against  the  laws  of  time  and  space,  or  of  matter  and  motion, 
that  a  man  so  ingenious  and  so  expert  as  this  Armenian 
must  necessarily  be,  assisted  by  agents  whose  dexterity  and 
acuteness  are  probably  not  inferior  to  his  own,  provided 
with  such  means  and  instruments  as  a  man  of  this  profes- 
sion is  never  without;  is  it  impossible  that  such  a  man, 
favoured  by  such  circumstances,  should  effect  so  much  in 
so  short  a  time  ?  Is  it  absurd  to  suppose,  that  by  a  very 
small  number  of  words  or  signs,  he  can  convey  to  his  as- 
sistants very  extensive  commissions,  and  direct  very  com- 
plex operations  ?  Nothing  ought  to  be  admitted  against  the 
established  laws  of  nature,  unless  it  is  something  with 
which  these  laws  are  absolutely  incompatible.  Would  you 
rather  give  credit  to  a  miracle  than  admit  an  improbability  ? 
Would  you  solve  a  difficulty  rather  by  overturning  the 
powers  of  nature,  than  by  believing  an  artful  and  uncommon 
combination  of  them  ?  " 

et  Though  the  fact  will  not  justify  a  conclusion  such  as  you 
have  condemned,  you  must  grant  that  it  is  far  beyond  our 
conception."  Cl  I  am  almost  tempted  to  dispute  even  this," 
said  the  Prince,  with  a  sarcastic  smile.  "  What  would  you 


56  THE    GHOST-SEER. 

say,  my  dear  Count,  if  it  should  be  proved,  for  instance,  that 
the  operations  of  the  Armenian  were  prepared  and  carried 
on  not  only  during  the  half  hour  that  he  was  absent  from 
us,  not  only  in  haste  and  incidentally,  but  during  the  whole 
evening  and  the  whole  night  ?  You  recollect  that  the 
Sicilian  employed  near  three  hours  in  preparation/'  "  The 
Sicilian,  your  Highness!"  "And  how  will  you  convince 
me  that  this  juggler  had  not  as  much  concern  in  the  second 
apparition  as  in  the  first  ?  "  "  How  ! "  "  That  he  was  not 
the  principal  assistant  of  the  Armenian ;  in  a  word,  how 
will  you  convince  me  that  they  did  not  co-operate  ?  "  ' '  It 
would  be  a  difficult  task  to  prove  that  they  did/'  exclaimed 
I,  with  no  little  surprise. 

"  Not  so  difficult,  my  dear  Count,  as  you  imagine. 
What !  could  it  have  happened  by  mere  chance  that  these 
two  men  should  form  a  design  so  extraordinary  and  so 
complicated  upon  the  same  person,  at  the  same  time,  and  in 
the  same  place  ?  Could  mere  chance  have  produced  such 
an  exact  harmony  between  their  operations,  that  one  of 
them  should  appear  as  if  subservient  to  the  other  ?  Sup- 
pose the  Armenian  has  intended  to  heighten  the  effect  of 
his  deception,  by  introducing  it  after  a  less  refined  one ; 
that  he  has  created  a  Hector  to  make  himself  an  Achilles. 
Suppose  he  has  done  all  this,  to  see  what  degree  of  cre- 
dulity he  should  find  in  me ;  to  examine  the  avenues  to  my 
confidence ;  to  familiarise  himself  with  his  subject  by  an 
attempt  that  might  have  miscarried  without  any  prejudice 
to  his  plan  ;  in  a  word,  to  try  the  instrument  on  which  he 
intended  to  play.  Suppose  he  has  done  this  with  a  view  to 
draw  my  attention  on  himself,  in  order  to  divert  it  from 
another  object  more  important  to  his  design.  Lastly,  sup- 
pose he  wishes  to  have  imputed  to  the  juggler  some  indirect 
methods  of  information  which  himself  has  had  occasion  to 
practise." 

"  What  do  you  mean  ? "  "  It  is  possible  that  he  may 
have  bribed  some  of  my  servants  to  give  him  secret  intelli- 
gence, or  perhaps  some  papers  which  may  serve  his  purpose. 
One  of  my  domestics  has  absconded.  What  reason  have  I 
to  think  that  the  Armenian  is  not  concerned  in  his  leaving 
me  ?  Such  a  connection,  however,  if  it  exists,  may  be  ac- 


THE    GHOST-SEER.  57 

cidentally  discovered ;  a  letter  may  be  intercepted ;  a 
servant  who  is  in  the  secret  may  betray  his  trust.  Now 
all  the  consequence  of  the  Armenian  is  destroyed,,  if  I  de- 
tect the  source  of  his  omniscience ;  he  therefore  introduces 
this  juggler,  who  must  be  supposed  to  have  the  same  or 
some  other  design  upon  me.  He  takes  care  to  give  me 
early  notice  of  him  and  his  intentions,  so  that  whatever  I 
may  hereafter  discover,  my  suspicions  must  necessarily  rest 
upon  the  Sicilian.  This  is  the  puppet  with  which  he 
amuses  me,  whilst  he  himself,  unobserved  and  unsuspected, 
is  entangling  me  in  invisible  snares."  "  We  will  allow 
this.  But  is  it  consistent  with  the  Armenian's  plan,  that 
he  himself  should  destroy  the  illusion  which  he  has  created, 
and  disclose  the  mysteries  of  his  science  to  the  eyes  of  the 
profane  ?  " 

( '  What  mysteries  does  he  disclose  ?  None,  surely, 
which  he  intends  to  practise  on  me;  he  therefore  loses 
nothing  by  the  discovery.  But,  on  the  other  hand,  what  an 
advantage  will  he  gain  if  this  pretended  victory  over 
juggling  and  deception  should  render  me  secure  and  unsus- 
pecting ;  if  he  succeeds  in  diverting  my  attention  from  the 
right  quarter  (I  mean  himself),  and  in  fixing  my  wavering 
suspicions  on  an  object  most  remote  from  the  real  one.  If 
at  any  time,  either  from  my  own  doubts  or  at  the  sug- 
gestion of  another,  I  should  be  tempted  to  seek  in  the  occult 
sciences  for  a  key  to  his  mysterious  wonders,  how  could  he 
better  provide  against  such  an  enquiry  than  by  contrasting 
his  prodigies  with  the  tricks  of  the  juggler  ?  By  confining 
the  latter  within  artificial  limits,  and  by  delivering,  as  it 
were,  into  my  hands,  a  scale  by  which  to  appreciate  them, 
he  naturally  exalts  and  perplexes  my  ideas  of  the  former. 
How  many  suspicions  does  he  preclude  by  this  single  con- 
trivance !  How  many  methods  of  accounting  for  his 
miracles,  which  might  afterwards  have  occurred  to  me, 
does  he  refute  beforehand!"  ei  But  in  exposing  such  a 
finished  deception,  he  has  very  much  counteracted  his  own 
interest,  both  by  quickening  the  penetration  of  those  whom 
he  meant  to  impose  upon,  and  by  staggering  their  belief  of 
miracles  in  general.  If  he  had  had  such  a  plan,  your 
Highness's  self  is  the  best  proof  of  its  insufficiency." 


58  THE    GHOST-SEEB. 

"  Perhaps  he  has  heen  mistaken  in  respect  to  myself,  but 
his  conclusions  have  nevertheless  been  well  founded.  Could 
he  foresee  that  I  should  exactly  notice  the  very  circumstance 
which  exposed  the  whole  artifice?  Was  it  in  his  plan, 
that  the  creature  he  employed  should  be  so  communicative  ? 
Are  we  certain  that  the  Sicilian  has  not  far  exceeded  his 
commission  ?  He  has  undoubtedly  done  so  with  respect  to 
the  ring,  and  yet  it  is  chiefly  this  single  circumstance  which 
determined  my  distrust  in  him.  A  plan  whose  contexture 
is  so  artful  and  refined,  is  easily  spoiled  in  the  execution  by 
an  awkward  instrument.  It  certainly  was  not  the  Ar- 
menian's intention  that  the  juggler  should  speak  to  us  in 
the  style  of  a  mountebank,  that  he  should  endeavour  to 
impose  upon  us  such  fables  as  are  too  gross  to  bear  the  least 
reflection.  For  instance,  with  what  countenance  could  this 
impostor  affirm,  that  the  miraculous  being  he  spoke  of,  re- 
nounces all  commerce  with  mankind  at  twelve  in  the  night  ? 
Did  not  we  see  him  among  us  at  that  very  hour  ?  "  "  That 
is  true.  He  must  have  forgotten  it."  "People  of  this 
description  naturally  overact  their  parts  ;  and,  by  exceeding 
every  limit  of  creclibility,  mar  the  effects  which  a  well- 
managed  deception  is  calculated  to  produce."  "  I  cannot, 
however,  yet  prevail  on  myself  to  look  upon  the  whole  as  a 
mere  contrivance  of  art.  What !  the  Sicilian's  terror,  his 
convulsive  fits,  his  sword,  the  deplorable  situation  in  which 
we  saw  him,  and  which  was  even  such  as  to  move  our  pity; 
were  all  these  nothing  more  than  the  mimickry  of  an  actor  ? 
I  allow  that  a  skilful  performer  may  carry  imitation  to  a 
very  high  pitch,  but  he  certainly  has  no  power  over  the  or- 
gans of  life."  ff  As  for  that,  my  friend,  I  have  seen  the 
celebrated  Garrick  in  the  character  of  Richard  the  Third. 
But  were  we  at  that  moment  sufficiently  cool  to  be  capable  of 
observing  dispassionately  ?  Could  we  judge  of  the  emotions 
of  the  Sicilian,  when  we  were  almost  overcome  by  our  own  ? 
Besides,  the  decisive  crisis,  even  of  a  deception,  is  so  mo- 
mentous to  the  deceiver  himself,  that  excessive  anxiety  may 
produce  in  him  symptoms  as  violent  as  those  which  sur- 
prise excites  in  the  deceived.  Add  to  this,  the  unexpected 
entrance  of  the  watch."  te  I  am  glad  your  Highness 
mentions  that.  Would  the  Armenian  have  ventured  to 


THE    GHOST-SEER.  59 

discover  such  an  infamous  scheme  to  the  eye  of  justice,  to 
expose  the  fidelity  of  his  creature  to  such  a  dangerous  test? 
And  for  what  purpose  ?"  "  Leave  that  matter  to  him;  he 
is  no  doubt  acquainted  with  the  people  he  employs.  Do 
we  know  what  secret  crimes  may  have  secured  him  the  dis- 
cretion of  this  man  ?  You  have  been  informed  of  the 
office  he  holds  at  Venice ;  what  difficulty  will  he  find  in 
saving  a  man,  of  whom  himself  is  the  only  accuser  ?  " 

This  suggestion  of  the  Prince  was  but  too  well  justified 
by  the  event.  For,  some  days  after,  on  enquiring  about 
the  prisoner,  we  were  told  that  he  had  escaped,  and  had 
not  since  been  heard  of.  "  You  ask  what  could  be  his 
motives  for  delivering  this  man  into  the  hands  of  justice?" 
continued  the  Prince.  "  By  what  other  method,  except 
this  violent  one,  could  he  have  wrested  from  the  Sicilian 
such  an  infamous  and  improbable  confession,  which,  how- 
ever, was  material  to  the  success  of  his  plan  ?  Who  but  a 
man  whose  case  is  desperate,  and  who  has  nothing  to  lose, 
would  consent  to  give  so  humiliating  an  account  of  himself? 
Under  what  other  circumstances  than  such  as  these  could 
we  have  believed  such  a  confession."  "  I  grant  your 
Highness  all  this.  The  two  apparitions  were  mere  con- 
trivances of  art :  the  Sicilian  has  imposed  upon  us  a  tale 
which  the  Armenian  his  master  had  previously  taught  him  : 
the  efforts  of  both  have  been  directed  to  the  same  end;  and 
by  this  mutual  intelligence  all  the  wonderful  incidents  that 
have  astonished  us  in  this  adventure  may  be  easily  ex- 
plained. But  the  prophecy  of  the  square  of  St.  Mark,  that 
first  miracle,  which  as  it  were  opened  the  door  to  all  the 
rest,  remains  still  unexplained  ;  and  of  what  use  is  the  key 
to  all  his  other  wonders,  if  we  must  despair  of  resolving  this 
single  one?" 

"  Rather  invert  the  proposition,  my  dear  Count,  and  say, 
what  do  all  these  wonders  prove,  if  I  can  demonstrate  that 
a  single  one  among  them  is  a  manifest  deception  ?  The 
prediction,  I  allow,  is  above  my  conception.  If  it  had 
stopped  there,  if  the  Armenian  had  closed  the  scene  with 
it,  I  confess,  I  do  not  know  how  far  I  might  have  been 
carried.  But  in  the  base  alloy  with  which  it  is  mixed, 


60  THE    GHOST- SEER. 

it  is  certainly  suspicious."  "  Gracious  Sir,  I  grant  it; 
but  it  still  remains  incomprehensible,  and  I  defy  all  our 
philosophy  to  explain  it."  "  But,"  continued  the  Prince, 
ec  can  it  be  really  so  inexplicable  ?  "  After  a  few  moments' 
reflection — ef  I  am  far  from  pretending  to  the  title  of 
a  philosopher,  and  yet  I  am  almost  tempted  to  account  for 
this  miracle  in  a  natural  way,  or  at  least  to  deprive  it 
entirely  of  any  extraordinary  appearance."  "  If  your 
Highness  can  do  that,"  replied  I,  with  a  very  unbelieving 
smile,  "  you  will  be  the  only  wonder  in  which  I  have  any 
faith."  "  As  a  proof,"  continued  he,  tf  how  little  we 
are  justified  in  flying  to  supernatural  powers  for  an  ex- 
planation, I  will  point  out  to  you  two  different  ways  by 
which  we  may  perhaps  account  for  this  event,  without 
doing  any  violence  to  nature."  ' '  Two  ways  at  once  !  You 
do  indeed  raise  my  expectations." 

(f  You  have  read,  as  well  as  I,  the  last  accounts  of  my 
late  cousin's  illness.  He  died  of  an  apoplexy  It  was  an 
attack  during  a  fit  of  the  ague.  The  extraordinariness  of  his 
death,  I  confess  it,  induced  me  to  ask  the  opinions  of  some 
physicians  upon  the  subject,  and  the  knowledge  which 
I  acquired  from  that  circumstance  gives  me  a  clue  to  this 
enchantment.  The  disorder  of  my  deceased  relative,  which 
was  one  of  a  most  uncommon  and  alarming  nature,  had  this 
peculiar  symptom,  that  during  the  fit  of  the  ague  it  threw 
the  patient  into  a  deep  and  irrecoverable  sleep,  which 
naturally  put  an  end  to  his  existence  on  the  return  of  the 
apoplectic  paroxysm.  As  these  paroxysms  return  in  the 
most  regular  order,  and  at  an  appointed  hour,  the  physician 
is  enabled,  from  the  very  moment  in  which  he  forms  his 
opinion  on  the  nature  of  the  disorder,  to  predict  the  hour 
of  the  patient's  decease.  The  third  paroxysm  of  a  tertian 
ague  will  fall  to  a  certainty  on  the  fifth  day  after  the  ap- 
pearance of  the  illness.  Let  us  suppose  then  that  our 
Armenian  possesses  a  vigilant  correspondent  among  the 
attendants  of  the  deceased ;  that  he  was  very  much  in- 
terested to  gain  information  from  thence;  that  he  had 
views  upon  my  person,  to  the  prosecution  of  which  my 
belief  in  the  wonderful  and  the  appearance  of  supernatural 


THE    GHOST-SEER.  6l 

powers  would  greatly  conduce  —  thus  you  have  a  natural 
clue  to  this  prediction,  which  is  so  inconceivable  to  you. 
This  is  sufficient,  for  you  may  hence  see  the  possibility  of 
a  third  person's  informing  another  of  a  death  which  hap- 
pened at  the  moment  when  he  announced  it,  in  a  place  at 
forty  miles'  distance." 

"  In  truth  your  Highness  in  this  instance  combines 
things  together,  which,  taken  singly,  appear  very  natural, 
but  which  could  only  be  brought  together  by  something  that 
is  not  much  better  than  enchantment."  "  What !  Do  you 
then  fear  a  wonder  less  than  an  uncommon  plan  ?  As  soon 
as  we  allow  that  the  Armenian  is  engaged  in  a  plan  of 
consequence,  of  which  my  destruction  is  either  the  end,  or 
at  least  conducive  to  it,  (and  may  we  not  form  that  opinion 
of  him  with  which  his  appearance  first  inspired  us  ?)  no- 
thing will  seem  unnatural  or  forced,  which  could  bring  his 
scheme  to  a  conclusion  in  the  most  expeditious  manner. 
But  what  way  could  he  devise  more  expeditious,  than  the 
securing  his  object  by  putting  on  the  appearance  of  a 
miracle-worker  ?  Who  can  resist  a  man  to  whom  the  spirits 
are  obedient  ?  However,  I  grant  you  that  my  conjectures 
are  not  perfectly  natural;  I  confess  that  I  am  not  evea 
myself  satisfied  with  them.  I  do  not  insist  upon  it,  be- 
cause I  do  not  think  it  worth  my  while  to  call  in  to  my 
assistance  a  well- formed  and  deliberate  design,  when  it  may 
at  last  turn  out  to  be  a  mere  accident."  cc  What ! "  re- 
plied I ;  "  may  it  be  a  mere  accident  ?  "  "  Certainly, 
.nothing  more  !"  continued  the  Prince.  "  The  Armenian 
was  aware  of  the  danger  of  my  cousin.  He  met  us  in  the 
place  of  St.  Mark.  The  opportunity  invited  him  to  hazard 
a  prophecy,  which,  if  it  failed,  would  be  nothing  more  than 
a  loose  word — but  if  it  succeeded,  might  be  of  the  greatest 
consequence.  The  event  was  favourable  to  this  attempt — 
and  he  might  still  design  to  make  use  of  the  gift  of  pro- 
phecy for  the  connection  of  his  plan  —  time  will  disclose 
this  secret,  or  bury  it  in  oblivion.  But  believe  me,  friend," 
(and  he  laid  his  hand  upon  mine,  with  a  very  earnest 
countenance,)  "  a  man,  to  whose  word  the  higher  powers  are 
obedient,  will  either  not  want  the  assistance  of  deception, 
or  at  least  will  despise  it." 


62  THE    GHOST-SEER. 

Thus  ended  a  conversation  which  I  have  faithfully  re- 
lated, because  it  shows  the  difficulties  which  were  to  be 
overcome  before  the  Prince  could  be  effectually  imposed 
upon.  I  hope  it  may  free  his  memory  from  the  imputation 
of  having  blindly  and  inconsiderately  thrown  himself  into 
a  snare  which  was  spread  for  his  destruction  by  the  most 
unexampled  and  diabolical  iniquity.  Many,  at  the  moment 
I  am  writing  this,  are,  perhaps,  smiling  contemptuously  at 
the  Prince's  credulity ;  but  not  all  those  who,  in  the  fancied 
superiority  of  their  own  understanding,  think  themselves 
entitled  to  condemn  him — not  all  those,  I  apprehend,  would 
have  resisted  this  first  attempt  with  so  much  firmness.  If 
afterwards,  notwithstanding  this  happy  prepossession,  we 
witness  his  downfall ;  if  we  see  that  the  black  design  against 
which,  at  its  very  opening,  he  was  thus  providentially 
warned,  is  finally  successful,  we  shall  not  be  so  much  in- 
clined to  ridicule  his  weakness,  as  to  be  astonished  at  the 
infamous  ingenuity  of  a  plot  which  could  seduce  an  under- 
standing so  admirably  prepared.  Considerations  of  interest 
have  no  influence  in  my  testimony.  He,  who  alone  would 
be  thankful  for  it,  is  now  no  more.  His  dreadful  destiny 
is  accomplished.  His  soul  has  long  since  been  purified  be- 
fore the  throne  of  truth,  where  mine  must  likewise  shortly 
appear.  Pardon  the  involuntary  tears  jwhich  now  flow  at 
the  remembance  of  my  deceased  friend.  But  for  the  sake 
of  justice  I  write  this  history.  He  was  a  great  character, 
and  would  have  adorned  a  throne  which,  seduced  by  the 
most  atrocious  artifice,  he  attempted  to  ascend  by  the  com- 
mission of  a  murder. 

Not  long  after  these  events,  I  began  to  observe  an  extra- 
ordinary alteration  in  the  disposition  of  the  Prince,  which 
was  partly  the  immediate  consequence  of  the  last  event,  and 
partly  produced  by  the  concurrence  of  many  adventitious  cir- 
cumstances; for  hitherto  the  Prince  had  avoided  every  severe 
trial  of  his  faith,  and  contented  himself  with  purifying  the 
rude  and  unabstracted  notions  of  religion  in  which  he  had 
been  educated,  by  those  more  rational  ideas  upon  the  sub- 
ject which  obtruded  themselves  upon  him,  and  by  com- 
paring the  discordant  opinions  with  each  other,  rather 
than  by  enquiring  into  the  foundations  of  his  faith.  The 


THE    GHOST-SEER.  6B 

mystery  of  religion,  he  has  many  times  confessed  to  me, 
always  appeared  to  him  like  an  enchanted  castle,  into 
which  one  does  not  set  one's  foot  without  horror;  and  that 
we  act  a  much  wiser  part  if  for  that  reason  we  pass  it  with 
a  willing  resignation,  without  exposing  ourselves  to  the 
danger  of  being  bewildered  in  its  labyrinths.  Nevertheless, 
a  contrary  propensity  irresistibly  impelled  him  to  those  re- 
searches which  were  connected  with  it.  A  servile  and 
bigoted  education  was  the  cause  of  this  bias  :  this  had 
impressed  frightful  images  upon  his  tender  brain,  which  he 
was  never  able  perfectly  to  obliterate  during  his  whole  life. 
Religious  melancholy  was  an  hereditary  disorder  in  his 
family.  The  education  which  he  and  his  brothers  received 
was  actuated  by  this  principle ;  the  men  to  whose  care  they 
were  entrusted,  selected  with  this  view,  were  also  either 
enthusiasts  or  hypocrites,  whose  only  method  of  securing  to 
themselves  the  approbation  of  his  noble  parents,  was  by 
stifling  all  the  sprightliness  of  the  boy  by  a  gloomy  restraint 
of  his  mental  faculties. 

Such  was  the  dark  and  gloomy  aspect  which  the  whole  of 
our  Prince's  childhood  wore.  Mirth  was  banished  even 
from  his  amusements.  All  his  ideas  of  religion  were  accom- 
panied by  some  frightful  image,  and  the  representations  of 
terror  and  severity  were  those  which  first  possessed  them- 
selves of  his  lively  imagination,  and  which  also  the  longest 
retained  their  empire  over  it.  His  God  was  an  object  of 
terror,  a  being  whose  sole  occupation  is  the  chastisement 
of  his  creatures  ;  the  adoration  which  he  paid  to  him  a 
blind  submission,  stifling  all  his  courage  and  vigour.  In  all 
his  infantine  or  youthful  propensities,  which  a  stout  body 
and  blooming  constitution  naturally  excited  to  break  out 
with  greater  violence,  Religion  stood  in  his  way;  she  opposed 
every  thing  upon  which  his  youthful  heart  was  bent :  he 
learned  to  consider  her  not  as  a  friend,  but  as  the  scourge  of 
his  passions;  so  that  a  silent  indignation  was  continually 
kindled  against  her  in  his  heart,  which,  together  with  a  re- 
vering faith  and  a  blind  dread,  made  both  in  his  heart  and 
head  the  strangest  mixture  —  an  abhorrence  of  the  Lord 
before  whom  he  trembled.  It  is  no  wonder,  therefore,  that 
he  took  the  first  opportunity  of  escaping  from  so  galling  a 


64}  THE    GHOST-SEER. 

yoke — but  he  fled  from  it  as  a  bond-slave  from  his  rigor- 
ous master,  who  even  in  the  midst  of  freedom  drags  along 
with  him  a  sense  of  his  servitude ;  for,  as  he  did  not  re- 
nounce the  faith  of  his  earlier  years  from  a  deliberate  con- 
viction— ashe  did  not  wait  till  the  maturity  and  improvement 
of  his  reason  had  weaned  him  from  it — ashe  had  escaped 
from  it  like  a  fugitive,  upon  whose  person  the  rights  of  his 
master  are  still  in  force,  so  was  he  obliged,  even  after  his 
widest  separation,  to  return  to  it  at  last.  He  had  escaped 
with  his  chain ;  and  must  necessarily  become  the  prey  of 
any  one  who  should  discover  it,  and  know  how  to  make  use 
of  the  discovery.  That  he  considered  himself  in  such  a 
light,  though  the  reader  may  not  yet  have  supposed  so,  the 
sequel  of  this  history  will  prove. 

The  confessions  of  the  Sicilian  left  impressed  upon  his 
mind  more  important  conclusions  than  the  whole  of  the  cir- 
cumstance deserved  ;  and  the  small  victory  which  his  reason 
had  thence  gained  over  this  weak  imposture,  remarkably  in- 
creased his  reliance  upon  it.  The  facility  with  which  he 
had  been  able  to  unravel  this  deception,  appeared  to  have 
perfectly  overwhelmed  him.  Truth  and  error  were  not  yet 
so  accurately  distinguished  from  each  other  in  his  mind,  but 
that  he  often  happened  to  mistake  the  arguments  which 
were  in  favour  of  the  one  for  those  which  were  in  favour 
of  the  other.  Thence  it  arose,  that  the  same  blow  which 
urged  his  faith  to  credulity,  made  the  whole  edifice  of  it 
totter.  In  this  instance  he  fell  into  the  same  error  as  an 
unexperienced  man  who  has  been  deceived  in  love  or  friend- 
ship because  he  made  a  bad  choice,  and  who  drops  all 
credit  in  these  sensations,  because  he  takes  mere  incidental 
circumstances  for  their  actual  distinguishing  features.  The 
unmasking  of  a  deception  made  even  truth  suspicious  to  him, 
because  he  had  unfortunately  discovered  the  truth  on  very 
weak  grounds.  This  imaginary  triumph  pleased  him  in 
proportion  to  the  magnitude  of  the  oppression  from  which 
it  seemed  to  have  delivered  him.  From  this  instant  there 
arose  in  his  mind  a  scepticism  which  did  not  spare  even  the 
most  venerable  objects.  Many  circumstances  concurred  to 
encourage  him  in  this  turn  of  mind,  and  still  more  to  confirm 
him  in  it. 


THE    GHOST-SEER. 


65 


He  now  quitted  the  retirement  in  which  he  had  hitherto 
lived,  and  was  obliged  to  give  way  to  a  more  dissipated 
mode  of  life.  His  rank  was  discovered.  Attentions  which 
he  was  obliged  to  return,  etiquettes  for  which  he  was 
indebted  to  his  rank,  drew  him  imperceptibly  within  the 
vortex  of  the  great  world.  His  rank,  as  well  as  his  per- 
sonal attractions,  opened  to  him  the  circles  of  all  the  beaux 
esprits  in  Venice,  and  he  soon  found  himself  on  terms  of 
intimacy  with  the  most  enlightened  persons  in  the  republic, 
the  men  of  learning  as  well  as  politicians.  This  obliged 
him  to  enlarge  the  uniform  and  narrow  circle  to  which  his 
understanding  had  hitherto  been  confined.  He  began  to 
perceive  the  poverty  and  debility  of  his  ideas,  and  to  feel 
the  want  of  more  elevated  impressions.  The  old-fashioned 
dress  of  his  understanding,  spite  of  the  many  advantages 
with  which  it  was  accompanied,  formed  an  unpleasing  con- 
trast with  the  current  ideas  of  society  ;  his  ignorance  of  the 
commonest  things  frequently  exposed  him  to  ridicule,  and 
nothing  did  he  dread  so  much  as  that.  The  veneration 
for  high  birth  entertained  in  his  native  country,  appeared  to 
him  a  challenge  to  overcome  it  in  his  own  person.  Thence 
arose  a  peculiarity  in  his  character ;  he  was  offended  with 
every  attention  that  he  thought  he  owed  to  his  rank,  and 
not  to  his  natural  good  qualities.  He  felt  this  humiliation 
principally  in  the  company  of  persons  who  shone  by  their 
abilities,  and  triumphed,  as  it  were,  over  their  birth  by 
their  merit.  To  perceive  himself  distinguished  as  a  prince 
in  such  a  society,  was  always  a  base  humiliation  to  him, 
because  he  unfortunately  conceived  that  by  that  title  he 
was  totally  excluded  from  all  competition.  All  these  cir- 
cumstances together  convinced  him  of  the  necessity  for  the 
formation  of  his  mind,  which  he  had  hitherto  neglected,  in 
order  to  raise  it  to  a  level  with  the  thinking  part  of  the 
world,  from  which  he  had  remained  so  far  remote ;  and  for 
that  purpose  he  chose  the  most  fashionable  books,  to  which 
he  now  applied  himself  with  all  the  ardour  with  which  he 
was  accustomed  to  pursue  every  object  he  pitched  upon. 
But  the  unskilful  hand  that  directed  his  choice  always 
prompted  him  to  select  such  as  were  ittle  calculated  for  the 
improvement  either  of  his  heart  or  his  reason.  And  even, 

VOL.  i.  B 


66  THE    GHOST- SEER. 

in  this  instance,  he  was  influenced  hy  that  propensity  which 
rendered  the  charms  of  every  thing  incomprehensible  and 
irresistible.  He  had  neither  attention  nor  memory  for  any 
thing  that  was  not  connected  with  this  :  his  reason  and  his 
heart  remained  empty,  while  he  was  filling  the  vacuities  in 
his  brain  with  confused  ideas.  The  dazzling  style  of  the 
one  captivated  his  imagination,  while  the  subtlety  of  the 
other  ensnared  his  reason.  They  were  both  able  easily  to 
possess  themselves  of  a  mind  which  became  the  prey  of  any 
one  who  obtruded  himself  upon  it  with  a  good  assurance. 
A  course  of  reading,  which  had  been  continued  with  ardour 
for  more  than  a  year,  had  scarcely  enriched  him  with  one 
benevolent  idea;  but  filled  his  head  with  doubts,  which,  as 
a  natural  consequence  with  such  a  character,  had  almost 
found  an  unfortunate  road  to  his  heart.  In  a  word,  he 
had  entered  this  labyrinth  as  a  credulous  enthusiast,  had 
left  it  as  a  sceptic,  and  was  at  length  become  a  perfect  free- 
thinker. 

Among  the  many  circles  into  which  they  had  introduced 
him,  there  was  a  private  society  called  the  Bucentauro, 
which,  under  the  external  show  of  a  noble  and  rational 
liberality  of  sentiment,  encouraged  the  most  unbridled 
licentiousness  of  manners  and  opinions.  As  they  enumerated 
many  of  the  clergy  among  their  members,  and  could  even 
boast  of  some  cardinals  at  their  head,  the  Prince  was  the 
more  easily  induced  to  be  admitted  into  it.  He  thought 
that  certain  dangerous  truths,  which  reason  discovers,  could 
be  no  where  better  preserved  than  in  the  hands  of  such 
persons,  whose  rank  confined  them  to  moderation,  and  who 
had  had  the  advantage  of  hearing  and  examining  the  other 
side  of  the  question ;  but  the  Prince  did  not  recollect  that 
licentiousness  of  sentiment  and  manners  takes  so  much  the 
stronger  hold  among  persons  of  this  rank,  inasmuch  as 
they  for  that  reason  feel  one  curb  less.  This  was  the  case 
with  the  Bucentauro ;  most  of  whose  members,  through 
an  execrable  philosophy,  and  manners  worthy  of  such  a 
guide,  were  not  only  a  disgrace  to  their  own  rank,  but  even 
to  human  nature  itself.  The  society  had  its  secret  degrees; 
and  I  will  believe,  for  the  credit  of  the  Prince,  that  they 
never  thought  him  worthy  of  admission  into  the  inmost 


THE    GHOST-SEER.  07 

sanctuary.  Every  one  who  entered  this  society  was  obliged, 
at  least  so  long  as  he  continued  to  be  a  member  of  it,  to  lay 
aside  all  distinctions  arising  from  rank,  nation,  or  religion; 
in  short,  every  general  mark  or  distinction  whatever,  and  to 
submit  himself  to  the  condition  of  universal  equality.  To 
be  elected  a  member  was,  indeed,  a  difficult  matter,  as 
superiority  of  understanding  alone  paved  the  way  to  it. 
The  society  boasted  of  the  highest  ton  and  the  most 
cultivated  taste,  and  such  indeed  was  its  fame  throughout 
all  Venice.  This,  as  well  as  the  appearance  of  equality 
which  predominated  in  it,  attracted  the  Prince  irresistibly. 
Sensible  conversations,  set  off  by  the  most  admirable 
humour,  instructive  amusements,  and  the  flower  of  the 
learned  and  political  world,  which  were  all  attracted  to  this 
point  as  to  their  common  centre,  concealed  from  him  for  a 
long  time  the  danger  of  this  connection.  Though  he  had 
by  degrees  discovered,  through  its  mask,  the  spirit  of  the 
institution,  as  they  were  tired  of  being  any  longer  on  their 
guard  before  him,  to  recede  was  dangerous,  and  false 
shame  and  anxiety  for  his  safety  obliged  him  to  conceal 
the  displeasure  which  he  felt.  But  he  already  began, 
merely  from  familiarity  with  men  of  this  class  and  their 
sentiments,  though  they  did  not  excite  him  to  imitation,  to 
lose  the  pure  and  charming  simplicity  of  his  character,  and 
the  delicacy  of  his  moral  feelings.  His  understanding,  so 
little  supported  by  any  real  knowledge,  could  not,  without 
foreign  assistance,  solve  the  fallacious  sophisms  with  which 
he  had  been  here  ensnared ;  and  this  fatal  corroder  had 
consumed,  all,  or  nearly  all,  on  which  his  morality  rested. 
He  gave  away  the  natural  and  necessary  supports  of  his 
happiness  for  sophisms  which  deserted  him  at  a  critical 
moment,  and  consequently  obliged  him  to  abide  by  the  best 
decision  which  should  first  offer  itself. 

Perhaps  it  was  yet  left  to  the  hand  of  a  friend  to  extri- 
cate him  at  a  proper  opportunity  from  this  abyss ;  but, 
besides  that  I  did  not  become  acquainted  with  the  interior 
of  the  Bucentauro  till  long  after  the  evil  had  taken  place, 
an  urgent  circumstance  called  me  away  from  Venice  just 
at  the  beginning  of  this  period.  Moreover,  Lord  Seymour, 
a  valuable  acquaintance  of  the  Prince's,  whose  under- 


68  THE    GHOST-SEER. 

standing  was  proof  against  every  species  of  deception,,  and 
who  would  infallibly  have  been  a  secure  support  to  him, 
left  us  at  this  time  in  order  to  return  to  his  native  country. 
Those  in  whose  hands  I  left  the  Prince  were  very  worthy 
men,  but  inexperienced,  excessively  narrow  in  their  re- 
ligious opinions,  and  as  much  deficient  in  insight  into  the 
evil  as  in  credit  with  the  Prince.  They  had  nothing  to 
oppose  to  his  captious  sophisms,  except  the  maxims  of  a 
blind  and  unenquiring  faith,  which  either  irritated  him  or 
excited  his  ridicule.  He  saw  through  them  too  easily,  and 
his  superior  reason  soon  silenced  those  weak  defenders  of 
the  good  cause,  which  will  be  clearly  evinced  from  an 
instance  that  I  shall  introduce  in  the  sequel.  The  others, 
who,  subsequent  to  this,  possessed  themselves  of  his  con- 
fidence, were  much  more  occupied  in  plunging  him  deeper 
into  it.  When  I  returned  to  Venice  in  the  following  year, 
a  change  had  taken  place  in  every  thing. 

The  influence  of  this  new  philosophy  soon  showed  itself 
in  the  Prince's  conduct.  The  more  he  openly  pursued 
pleasure,  and  formed  new  friendships,  the  more  did  he 
desert  his  old  ones.  He  pleased  me  less  and  less  every 
day  ;  we  saw  each  other  seldom,  and  indeed  he  was  seldom 
to  be  found.  He  had  launched  out  into  the  torrent  of  the 
great  world.  His  threshold  was  never  clear  when  he  was 
at  home.  One  amusement  introduced  another  —  one  ban- 
quet another — and  one  pleasure  was  succeeded  by  a  second. 
He  was  the  beauty  whom  every  one  adored  —  the  king 
and  idol  of  every  circle.  As  often  as  he  reflected  on  the 
former  quietness  of  his  retired  life,  amidst  the  bustle  of 
the  world,  so  often  did  he  find  more  reason  for  astonish- 
ment. Every  thing  met  his  wishes  ; — whatever  he  uttered 
was  admirable,  and  when  he  remained  silent,  it  was  com- 
mitting a  robbery  upon  the  company.  They  understood 
the  art  of  almost  banishing  reflection  from  his  soul  by  an 
agreeable  thoughtlessness,  and  through  a  delicate  assistance 
to  overwhelm  him  with  it.  This  happiness,  which  accom- 
panied him  every  where,  and  this  universal  success,  raised 
him  indeed  too  much  in  his  own  ideas,  because  it  gave 
him  reliance  upon  and  confidence  in  himself. 

The  high  opinion  which  he  thence  acquired  of  his  own 


THE    GHOST-SEER.  69 

.vorth,  made  him  credit  the  excessive  and  almost  idolatrous 
adoration  that  was  paid  to  his  understanding  ;  which,  with- 
out this  augmented  and  somewhat  just  self-complacency, 
must  have  necessarily  recalled  him  to  his  senses.  For  the 
present,  however,  this  universal  voice  was  only  the  confirm- 
ation of  that  which  his  complacent  vanity  whispered  to  him 
in  private  —  a  tribute  which  he  was  entitled  to  by  right. 
He  would  have  infallibly  disengaged  himself  from  this 
snare,  had  they  allowed  him  to  take  breath  —  had  they 
granted  him  a  moment  of  uninterrupted  leisure  for  com- 
paring his  real  merit  with  the  picture  that  was  exhibited 
to  hftn  in  this  seducing  mirror  ;  but  his  existence  was  a 
continued  state  of  intoxication,  of  a  staggering  dizziness. 
The  higher  he  had  been  elevated,  the  more  difficulty  had 
he  to  support  himself  in  his  elevation.  This  incessant 
exertion  slowly  undermined  him,  —  rest  had  forsaken  even 
his  slumbers.  They  had  discovered  his  weakness,  and 
turned  to  good  account  the  passion  which  they  had  kindled 
in  his  breast. 

His  worthy  attendants  soon  suffered  for  the  spirit  of 
their  lord.  That  anxious  sensibility,  those  glorious  truths 
which  his  heart  once  embraced  with  the  greatest  enthu- 
siasm, now  began  to  be  the  objects  of  his  ridicule.  He 
revenged  himself  on  the  great  truths  of  religion  for  the 
oppression  which  he  had  so  long  suffered  from  misconcep- 
tion. But,  since  from  too  true  a  voice  his  heart  combated 
the  intoxication  of  his  head,  there  was  more  of  acrimony 
than  of  humour  in  his  jokes.  His  disposition  began  to 
alter,  and  caprice  to  make  its  appearance.  The  most 
beautiful  ornament  of  his  character,  his  moderation,  va- 
nished,— parasites  had  poisoned  his  excellent  heart.  That 
tender  delicacy  of  address  which  frequently  made  his 
attendants  forget  that  he  was  their  lord,  was  now  obliged 
not  seldom  to  give  place  to  a  decisive  and  despotic  tone, 
that  made  the  more  sensible  impression  because  it  was  not 
founded  upon  the  external  distinction  of  birth,  for  the 
want  of  which  they  could  have  more  easily  consoled  them- 
selves, and  which  he  himself  esteemed  less ;  but  upon  an 
injurious  estimation  of  his  own  individual  merit :  since, 
when  at  home,  he  was  attacked  by  reflections  that  seldom 
it  3 


70  THE    GHOST-SEER. 

made  their  appearance  in  the  bustle  of  company  ;  his  own 
people  seldom  beheld  him  otherwise  than  gloomy,  peevish, 
and  unhappy,  whilst  a  forced  vivacity  made  him  the  soul 
of  every  circle.  With  the  sincerest  sorrow  did  we  behold 
him  treading  this  dangerous  path.  In  the  tumult  in  which 
he  was  involved,  the  feeble  voice  of  friendship  was  no 
longer  heard,  and  he  was  yet  too  much  intoxicated  to 
understand  it. 

Just  at  the  beginning  of  this  epoch  an  affair  of  the 
greatest  consequence  required  my  presence  in  the  court  of 
my  sovereign,  and  which  I  dared  not  postpone  even  for  the 
dearest  interests  of  friendship.  An  invisible  hand,  which 
I  did  not  discover  till  long  after  that  period,  had  contrived 
to  derange  my  affairs  there,  and  to  spread  reports  which  I 
was  obliged  to  hasten  to  contradict  by  my  presence.  My 
absence  from  the  Prince  was  as  painful  to  me  as  it  was 
pleasing  to  him.  The  ties  which  united  us  had  now  been 
severed  for  some  time ;  but  his  fate  had  awakened  all  my 

anxiety :    I  on  that  account  made  the  Baron  de  F 

promise  to  inform  me  in  his  letters  of  every  event,  which 
he  has  done  in  the  most  conscientious  manner.  As  I  was 
now  for  a  considerable  time  no  longer  an  eye-witness  of 
these  events,  it  will  be  allowable  for  me  to  introduce  the 

Baron  de  F in  my  stead,  and  to  fill  up  the  gap  in  my 

narrative  by  the  contents  of  his  letters,  though  the  repre- 
sentation of  my  friend  F is  not  always  that  which  I 

should  have  given.  I  would  not,  however,  alter  any  of 
his  expressions,  by  which  the  reader  will, -be  enabled  to 
discover  the  truth  with  very  little  trouble. 


Baron  F to  the  Count  O 

I  thank  you,  my  beloved  friend,  that  you  have  given  me 
permission  to  continue  with  you,  even  in  your  absence,  the 
conversation  of  friendship,  which,  during  your  stay  here, 
was  my  greatest  pleasure.  There  is  not  any  person  here 
with  whom  I  could  venture  to  converse,  as  you  are  well 
aware,  on  account  of  private  transactions  j  and,  independent 
of  that,  I  despise  the  character  of  the  people.  Since  the 
Prince  became  a  member  of  their  society,  and  from  the 


THE    GHOST-SEER.  71 

moment  that  you  were  torn  from  us,  I  have  been  friend- 
less in  the  midst  of  this  populous  city. 

Z takes  it  in  an  easier  manner;  for,  encircled  by 

the  fair  ones  at  Venice,  he  learns  to  forget  the  sorrows 
which  he  is  obliged  to  share  with  me  when  at  home.  And 
why  should  he  perplex  himself  ?  He  desires  nothing  from 
the  Prince  but  that  which  a  master  would  bestow  ;  but  I, 
you  know,  place  him  nearer  to  my  heart,  and  think  I  can 
never  be  too  solicitous  about  his  welfare  and  happiness ; 
and,  indeed,  I  have  reason  for  it.  I  have  now  lived  with 
him  sixteen  years,  and  exist  only  for  him.  At  the  age  of 
nine  years  I  entered  into  his  service,  and  since  that  time  I 
have  never  been  separated  from  him.  I  have  grown  up 
under  his  patronage,  shared  with  him  his  pleasures  and 
misfortunes,  and  time  has  converted  respect  into  a  sincere 
attachment.  Until  now  I  looked  upon  him  as  my  friend 
and  brother ;  we  basked  in  the  sunbeam  of  happiness,  un- 
interrupted by  the  clouds  of  misery. 

Since  you   have  left  us,   considerable  alterations  have 

taken  place.     The  Prince de arrived  here  last 

week  with  a  great  retinue,  and  has  corrupted  our  circle  of 
acquaintance  with  ideas  of  a  tumultuous  life.  As  he  and 
our  Prince  are  so  nearly  related,  and  live  at  present  upon 
good  terms,  I  suspect  they  will  not  separate  from  one 
another  during  his  stay  here,  which  will  last,  as  I  have 
heard,  till  the  Ascension.  His  debut  has  already  attracted 
notice ;  and  for  ten  days  the  Prince  has  been  in  the  midst 

of  gaiety.     The  style  in  which  the  Prince de 

has  begun  his  career  may  be  justified  upon  the  ground  that 
his  stay  here  wiU  not  be  long ;  but  the  first  part  of  the 
business  is,  that  he  has  induced  our  Prince  to  partake  of 
those  insidious  pleasures,  knowing  that  he  could  not  easily 
deny  him  his  request,  on  account  of  the  peculiar  connection 
which  exists  between  their  houses ;  added  to  this,  in  a  few 
weeks  we  must  depart  from  Venice,  when  he  will  be 
obliged  to  abandon  this  extraordinary  and  insufferable 
mockery  of  happiness,  and  which,  perhaps,  may  make  a 
serious  impression  on  his  mind. 

The  Prince de ,  it  is  reported,  is  here  on  the 

bus  ness  of  the  order  of  . That  he  has  taken  advan- 

E  4 


72  THE    GHOST-SEER. 

tage  of  all  the  acquaintances  of  our  Prince  you  may  easily 
imagine.  He  was  received  into  the  Bucentauro  with  great 
splendour,,  and  pleased  himself  with  the  idea  that  he  was 
characterised  as  a  wit,  and  one  of  great  spirit ;  and  he  has 
called  himself  in  his  correspondence  (which  he  maintains 
in  all  parts  of  the  world)  the  philosophical  Prince.  I 
know  not  whether  you  have  ever  had  the  fortune  to  see 
him  personally.  He  displays  a  promising  exterior,  piercing 
eyes,  and  a  countenance  full  of  expression.  Polite,  and 
unaffected,  he  entertains  (pardon  me  this  expression)  a 
princely  respect  for  the  feelings  of  his  inferiors,  hut  at  the 
same  time  puts  great  confidence  in  himself.  Who  could 
refuse  to  pay  adoration  to  so  princely  a  character  ?  and 
how  such  a  solitary  Prince  as  ours  will  appear  in  oppo- 
sition to  such  dazzling  accomplishments,  time  itself  must 
discover.  In  the  arrangement  of  our  affairs,  many  and 
great  changes  have  taken  place.  We  possess  a  new  and 
magnificent  house  opposite  the  new  Procuracy,  because  the 
lodgings  at  the  Moor  Hotel  were  too  small  for  the  Prince. 
Our  household  has  been  augmented  by  twelve  persons. 
Pages,  moors,  body-guards,  &c.  grace  our  retinue.  You 
complained  during  your  stay  here  of  extravagance ;  you 
should  be  here  now  to  witness  the  present  system.  Our 
internal  arrangements  are  still  the  same ;  only  that  the 
Prince,  who  no  longer  respects  the  advice  of  those  he  once 
loved,  is  become  more  reserved  and  cold  towards  us,  and 
that  we  very  seldom  see  him  or  are  in  his  company,  except 
in  the  hours  employed  in  dressing  and  undressing  him. 
Under  the  pretext  that  we  speak  the  French  language  very 
badly,  and  the  Italian  not  at  all,  he  excludes  us  from  his 
presence,  which  would  not  affect  me  in  any  great  degree, 
but  that  I  believe,  to  speak  the  truth,  he  is  ashamed  of  us  ; 
and  that  circumstance  displeases  me,  because  I  am  con- 
fident we  have  not  deserved  such  treatment. 

Of  all  our  people  (as  you  wish  to  know  the  minutiae) 
he  seems  most  attached  to  Biondello,  whom  he  took  into 
his  service,  as  you  must  remember,  when  he  could  not 
discover  the  retreat  of  his  former  servant  from  Bremen, 
and  who  has  become,  by  this  new  manner  of  life,  quite  a 
necessary  being.  This  man  knows  hoAv  every  thing  is 
going  on  at  Venice^  and  he  employs  his  time  to  some  pur- 


I 


THE    GHOST-SEER.  73 

pose.  He  is  as  if  he  had  a  thousand  eyes  and  a  thousand 
hands  to  set  in  motion  at  once.  He  contrives  all  plans, 
and  gains  the  greater  part  of  his  knowledge,  as  he  says,  by 
the  help  of  the  gondoliers ;  for  that  reason,  he  has  become 
a  great  acquision  to  the  Prince.  He  makes  him  acquainted 
with  every  new  face  whom  the  Prince  has  met  in  his 
societies  ;  and  the  secret  information  which  he  gives  his 
Highness  has  always  been  found  correct.  Beside  this,  he 
reads  and  writes  the  Italian  and  French  in  an  excellent 
style,  by  which  means  he  has  already  become  the  Prince's 
secretary.  I  must  relate  to  you  a  trait  of  fidelity  in  him, 
which  is  indeed  very  rare  to  be  found  in  men  of  his  station. 
Not  long  ago  a  merchant  of  great  consequence  from 
Rimini  begged  to  be  admitted  to  the  Prince.  The  matter 
concerned  a  particular  complaint  against  Biondello.  The 
Procurator,  his  former  master,  who  must  have  been  an 
odd  fellow,  had  for  some  time  lived  upon  bad  terms  with 
his  relations.  Biondello  possessed  his  confidence,  and  to 
him  he  intrusted  all  his  secrets.  As  he  was  upon  his  death- 
bed, he  made  him  swear  never  to  disclose  them  to  any 
one,  that  his  relations  might  not  be  benefited  by  them,  and 
gave  him,  as  a  reward,  a  great  legacy. 

When  the  will  was  opened,  and  his  papers  inspected, 
there  were  found  considerable  numbers  of  blanks,  to  which 
Biondello  alone  could  furnish  the  key.  He  denied  that  he 
knew  any  thing  of  the  matter,  gave  up  to  the  relations  his 
legacy,  and  persevered  in  his  fidelity  to  the  injunctions  of 
his  deceased  master.  Great  offers  were  made  to  him  by  the 
relations,  but  all  to  no  purpose ;  at  last  he  eluded  their 
threats  of  forcing  him  to  confession,  by  entering  into  the 
service  of  the  Prince.  This  merchant,  who  was  the  heir 
at  law,  addressed  himself  to  the  Prince,  and  made  still 
greater  offers  to  Biondello  if  he  would  discover  the  secret 
—  but  it  was  ah"  in  vain.  The  Prince  interfered,  but  he 
remained  firm.  He  confessed,  however,  to  his  Highness, 
that  secrets  of  great  importance  were  confided  to  him,  and 
he  did  not  deny  that  the  deceased  might  have  acted  with 
too  much  severity  towards  his  relations ;  but  he  added, 
"  he  was  my  good  master  and  benefactor,  and  with  the 
firmest  confidence  in  my  sincerity  he  died.  I  was  the  only 
friend  he  left  in  the  world — as  such  I  will  never  betray 


74-  THE    GHOST-SEER. 

my  trust,  nor  act  in  contradiction  to  his  dying  request." 
In  the  mean  time  he  gave  a  hint,  that  a  discovery  would 
•not  add  to  the  honour  of  his  deceased  master.  Was  not 
such  conduct  worthy  to  be  imitated?  You  may  easily  imagine 
that  the  Prince  did  not  insist  upon  his  violating  his  vow  of 
fidelity.  This  extraordinary  attachment  which  he  showed 
for  the  deceased  gained  him  the  most  unlimited  confidence 
of  his  royal  master. 

Happiness  attend  you,  my  dear  friend.  I  look  back 
upon  our  former  manner  of  life  with  secret  pleasure,  to 
which  you  have  contributed  in  a  high  degree.  I  fear  we 
shall  never  more  enjoy  those  tranquil  hours  at  Venice 
which  we  were  wont  formerly  to  do,  and  am  much  mistaken 
if  the  Prince  is  not  of  the  same  way  of  thinking.  The 
element  in  which  he  lives  at  present  is  not  that  in  which 
he  can  be  happy  in  future,  or  an  experience  of  sixteen  years 
deceives  me.  Farewell ! 

The  same  to  the  same. 

May  18. 

I  had  no  idea  that  our  stay  at  Venice  would  prove  so 
satisfactory  as  it  has  done.  He  has  saved  the  life  of  a  man 
—  I  am  reconciled  to  him.  The  Prince  not  long  ago 
suffered  himself  to  be  carried  home  in  a  chair  from  the 
Bicentauro  ;  and  two  footmen,  with  Biondello,  conducted 
him.  I  know  not  how  it  happened,  but  the  chair,  which 
had  been  hired  in  haste,  broke,  and  the  Prince  was  obliged 
to  walk  on  foot  the  remainder  of  the  way.  Biondello  went 
before.  The  way  lay  through  several  dark  streets  ;  and  as 
it  was  not  far  from  day- break,  some  of  the  lamps  burnt  but 
faintly,  while  the  others  were  totally  extinguished.  They 
had  been  walking  a  quarter  of  an  hour,  when  Biondello 
discovered  that  he  had  taken  the  wrong  road.  The  simi- 
larity of  the  bridges  had  deceived  him,  and  instead  of 
crossing  that  of  St.  Mark,  they  found  themselves  in  Sestiere 
di  Castello.  It  was  in  one  of  the  by  streets,  and  not  a 
soul  stirring  near  the  spot.  They  were  obliged  to  turn 
back  to  gain,  as  the  best  way,  one  of  the  principal  streets. 
They  had  walked  but  a  few  steps,  when  in  an  adjoining 
street  they  distinctly  heard  the  cry  of  "  Murder  ! "  The 
Prince,  unarmed  as  he  was,  snatched  from  one  of  the  ser- 


THE    GHOST-SEER.  > 

vants  a  stick ;  and  with  his  usual  courage,  which  you  have 
often  witnessed,  ran  towards  the  place  whence  the  voice 
issued.  Three  ruffianlike  fellows  were  just  on  the  point  of 
vanquishing  a  person,  who,  with  his  servant,  was  defending 
himself,  apparently  overcome  by  fatigue,  when  the  Prince 
appeared,  and  prevented  the  villains  from  murdering  him. 
His  voice,  and  those  of  his  servants,  startled  the  murderers, 
who  did  not  expect  in  such  a  dismal  place  to  meet  with  any 
interruption. 

They  immediately  left  their  man,  after  several  slight 
stabs  writh  their  daggers,  and  took  flight.  Fainting  with 
loss  of  blood,  the  wounded  man  sunk  into  the  arms  of  the 
Prince  :  his  conductors  then  told  him,  that  he  had  saved 
the  life  of  the  Marquis  of  Civitella,  the  nephew  of  the 

Cardinal  A i.  As  the  Marquis's  wounds  bled  very 

much,  Biondello  performed  as  well  as  he  was  able  the  office 
of  surgeon,  and  the  Prince  immediately  saw  him  taken  to 
the  palace  of  his  uncle,  which  was  not  far  distant  from  the 
spot.  This  done,  he  left  the  house,  without  discovering 
his  rank.  But  through  the  means  of  a  footman,  who  was 
acquainted  with  Biondello,  he  was  betrayed.  The  follow- 
ing morning  the  Cardinal  appeared,  an  old  acquaintance 
from  the  Bucentauro.  The  visit  lasted  an  hour ;  the  Car- 
dinal was  in  great  emotion,  and  when  they  separated  tears 
stood  in  his  eyes ;  the  Prince  also  appeared  extremely  con- 
cerned. The  same  evening  his  Highness  paid  a  visit  to 
the  wounded  man,  whom  the  surgeon  affirmed  would  soon 
recover.  The  cloak  in  which  he  was  wrapped  up  had  in 
some  measure  shielded  him  from  the  force  with  which  the 
stabs  were  given.  Since  that  accident,  not  a  day  has 
passed  over  without  the  Prince  paying  a  visit  to  the  Car- 
dinal, or  receiving  one  from  him ;  and  a  great  friendship 
begins  to  exist  between  him  and  that  family. 

The  Cardinal  is  a  venerable  man  of  sixty,  with  a  majestic 
appearance,  but  full  of  gaiety  and  good  health.  They  think 
him  one  of  the  richest  prelates  in  the  whole  republic.  Of  his 
enormous  fortune  he  himself  is  the  treasurer;  and,  although 
a  prudent  economist,  he  does  not  despise  the  pleasures  of  the 
world.  This  nephew,  who  is  his  only  heir,  does  not  always 
possess  the  good  opinion  of  his  uncle.  Although  the  old 


76 


THE    GHOST-SEER. 


man  is  not  an  enemy  to  youthful  pleasures,  the  conduct  of 
the  nephew  appears  to  exhaust  every  principle  of  tolerance 
in  his  relation.  His  dissipated  principles,  and  his  licentious 
mariner  of  living,  supported  by  every  vice  that  is  coun- 
tenanced by  the  grossest  sensuality,  make  him  the  terror  of 
all  fathers,  and  the  curse  of  domestic  happiness.  This  last 
attack,  it  is  said,  was  owing  to  an  intrigue  which  he  had 

concerted  with  the  wife  of  the  ambassador :  not  to 

mention  other  troubles,  from  which  only  the  power  and 
money  of  the  Cardinal  could  extricate  him.  But  for  this 
the  Cardinal  might  be  the  most  enviable  man  in  all  Italy, 
because  he  possesses  every  thing  that  can  make  life  worth 
preserving.  But  his  nephew's  enormities  render  the  gifts  of 
fortune  superfluous  ;  and  the  continual  fear  of  not  being 
able  to  find  an  heir  worthy  of  his  property,  diminishes  the 
comfort  that  his  Eminence  would  otherwise  enjoy  in  such 
a  state  of  affluence. 

I  have  this  information  from  Biondello.  In  this  man  the 
Prince  has  acquired  a  treasure.  Every  day  he  makes  him- 
self more  worthy  of  estimation,  and  we  almost  hourly  dis- 
cover in  him  some  new  talent.  Not  long  ago  the  Prince, 
being  over-fatigued,  could  not  sleep.  The  night-lamp  was 
extinguished,  and  no  bell  could  waken  the  valet  de  chambre, 
who  it  was  soon  found  had  gone  out  of  the  house  to  visit 
an  opera  girl.  The  Prince  had  the  resolution  to  get 
up  himself,  to  call  one  of  his  people.  He  had  not  gone 
far,  when  he  heard  at  a  little  distance  from  him  enchanting 
music.  He  followed  the  sound,  and  found  Biondello  playing 
upon  the  flute  in  his  room,  with  his  fellow-servants  round 
him.  He  commanded  him  to  proceed.  With  admirable 
skill  Biondello  repeated  the  same  air,  with  the  most  delightful 
variations  and  niceties  of  a  virtuoso.  The  Prince,  who  is  a 
connoisseur  in  music,  declared,  that  he  might  play  with 
great  confidence  in  the  best  concert. 

fe  I  must  dismiss  this  man,"  said  he  to  me  the  following 
morning ;  "  I  am  unable  to  recompense  him  according  to 
his  merits."  Biondello,  who  heard  these  words,  came  to* 
wards  him.  ' '  Gracious  sir,  if  you  do  that,  you  deprive  me 
of  my  best  reward."  "  You  are  worthy  of  something  bet- 
ter than  being  a  servant,"  said  my  master.  "  I  will  not 


THE    GHOST-SEER.  77 

any  longer  be  a  bar  to  the  improvement  of  your  fortune." 
"  Do  not  press  upon  me  any  other  fortune.,  gracious  sir, 
than  that  which  I  have  chosen  myself."  "  And  to  neglect 
such  a  talent — No  !  I  must  not  consent."  "  Then  permit 
me,,  your  Highness,  to  exercise  it  every  now  and  then  in  your 
presence."  J  >  -'f  .4 

To  this  proposition  the  Prince  immediately  consented, 
and  Biondello  obtained  an  apartment  adjoining  the  sleeping- 
room  of  his  master,  where  he  lulled  him  to  repose  by  soft 
and  delicate  airs,  and  awoke  him  in  the  morning  with  the 
same  melody.  The  Prince  insisted  upon  increasing  his 
salary,  which  he  did  not  accept  without  requesting  his 
Highness  to  permit  him  to  let  it  lie  in  his  hands,  as  a 
capital  which  perhaps  at  some  future  period  might  be  of 
service  to  him.  The  Prince  expected  that  he  would  soon 
apply  for  his  money,  or  some  other  favour  ;  and  whatever 
it  might  have  been  the  Prince  would  not  have  denied  it. 
Farewell,  my  best  of  friends.  I  expect  with  impatience 
news  from  R n. 

The  same  to  the  same. 

June  4. 

The  Marquis  Civitella,  who  is  now  entirely  recovered 
from  his  wounds,  was  introduced  last  week  by  the  Cardinal 
his  uncle  to  the  Prince,  and  since  that  day  he  has  followed 
him  like  his  shadow.  Biondello,  I  suspect,  has  not  told  me 
the  truth  concerning  the  character  of  the  Marquis,  at  least 
he  has  gone  too  far  in  his  description.  He  is  to  all  appear- 
ance a  most  amiable  man,  and  irresistible  in  company.  It 
is  not  possible  to  be  angry  with  him ;  the  first  sight  of  him 
has  conquered  all  my  prejudices.  Figure  to  your  mind  a 
man  of  the  most  enchanting  person,  a  face  full  of  un- 
common expression,  an  insinuating  tone  of  voice,  pos- 
sessed of  the  most  fluent  eloquence,  united  with  all  the 
advantages  of  the  best  education.  He  has  none  of  that  low 
despicable  pride  which  in  general  so  much  disgraces  the 
nobility  here.  Every  action  teems  with  the  energy  of 
youth,  benevolence,  and  warm  sensibility.  They  must,  in 
relating  his  extravagances,  have  gone  far  beyond  the  truth  ; 
I  never  saw  a  more  perfect  contrast  than  his  conduct  is  to 


78  THE    GHOST-SEER. 

that  which  is  represented  of  him.  If  he  be  really  so  licen- 
tious as  Biondello  asserted,  then  he  is  a  siren,  whom  no 
creature  is  able  to  resist. 

Towards  me  he  acted  with  unreserved  confidence.  He 
confessed  to  me  with  the  most  agreeable  frankness,,  that  he 
did  not  stand  in  high  favour  with  his  uncle  the  Cardinal, 
and  perhaps  he  might  have  deserved  his  censure.  But  he 
was  seriously  resolved  to  amend  his  life ;  and  he  declared 
that  the  merit  of  his  reformation  would  entirely  fall  to  the 
Prince :  in  the  mean  time  he  hoped,  through  his  interfer- 
ence, to  be  entirely  reconciled  with  his  uncle,  because  he  had 
the  highest  confidence  in  the  Prince's  character.  He  had 
wanted  till  now  a  friend  and  instructor,  and  he  hoped  to 
acquire  both  in  the  person  of  the  Prince,  who,  indeed,  ex- 
ercises all  the  authority  of  a  tutor  over  him,  and  guides 
him  with  the  paternal  watchfulness  and  solicitude  of  a 
Mentor.  This  confidence  also  gives  him  certain  advantages, 
and  he  knows  perfectly  well  how  to  make  them  valuable. 
He  seldom  quits  the  presence  of  the  Prince ;  he  partakes  of 
all  his  pleasures,  and  has  lately  become  one  of  the  Bucen- 
tauro  ;  and  that  is  lucky  for  him,  —  he  was  before  too 
young.  Wherever  he  goes  with  the  Prince,  he  charms  the 
society  by  his  accomplishments,  which  he  is  well  skilled  in 
turning  to  the  greatest  advantage.  Nobody,  they  say,  ever 
could  succeed  in  reclaiming  him  ;  and  should  the  Prince 
accomplish  this  Herculean  labour,  he  will  deserve  the  high- 
est encomiums  for  his  conduct.  But  I  fear  very  much  the 
tide  will  turn,  and  Mentor  become  the  pupil  of  his  scholar  ; 
to  this  end  all  the  present  circumstances  seem  to  lead. 

The  Prince d has  departed,  to  the  greatest 

satisfaction  of  all  here,  my  master  not  excepted.  What 

I  thought,  dear  O ,  is  thus  happily  accomplished.  Two 

such  opposite  characters  could  not  long,  I  was  confident, 
maintain  a  good  understanding  with  each  other.  The  Prince 

d was  not  long  at  Venice  before  I  observed  a 

schism  in  their  friendship;  from  which  circumstance  the  Prince 
was  in  danger  of  losing  all  his  former  admirers.  Wherever 
he  went,  he  found  this  rival  in  his  way,  who  possessed  the 
artful  quality  of  turning  every  advantage  in  which  our 
Prince  was  deficient  to  good  account.  He  had  a  variety  of 


THE    GHOST-SEER.  79 

little  manoeuvres  at  his  command,  which  our  master,  from 
a  noble  sensibility,,  disdained.  From  such  circumstances, 
in  a  short  time,  he  procured  a  number  of  friends  of  his 
own  description  to  follow  his  advice  and  participate  in  his 
schemes.  *  It  would  have  been  better  for  the  Prince  if  he 
had  not  considered  him  as  an  enemy  ;  but  had  looked  for- 
ward to  the  time  when  this  would  have  been  the  case.  But 
now  he  has  advanced  too  far  into  the  stream,  to  reach  the 
shore  without  difficulty.  Although  these  trifles,  by  habit, 
have  acquired  an  ascendency  over  him,  and  probably  he  may 
despise  them  in  his  heart,,  yet  his  pride  will  not  permit 
him  to  renounce  them,  naturally  supposing  that  his  submis- 
sion will  appear  like  conviction,  rather  than  a  free  disposi- 
tion to  confess  his  abhorrence  of  them.  The  satirical  man- 
ner in  which  they  always  conversed,  and  the  spirit  of 
rivalship  that  influenced  his  opponent,  have  also  seized  upon 
him.  To  preserve  his  conquests,  and  to  maintain  him- 
self upon  the  dangerous  principles  to  which  the  opinion  of 
the  world  had  rivetted  him,  he  is  resolved  to  augment  the 
allurements  of  fashion  and  gaiety,  and  this  cannot  be  ac- 
quired but  by  splendour  equal  to  his  rank  ;  on  that  account 
he  has  been  involved  in  perpetual  banquets,  concerts,  and 
gaming.  A  long  chain  of  poverty  is  the  unavoidable  con- 
sequence of  this  unhappy  connection. 

We  have  got  rid  at  last  of  the  rival ;  but  what  he  has 
subverted  cannot  so  easily  be  restored.  The  treasure  of 
the  Prince  is  exhausted  ;  all  that  he  had  saved  by  a  strict 
economy  is  gone ;  we  must  hasten  from  Venice,,  or  else 
be  involved  in  debt,  which,  till  now,  he  has  carefully  avoided. 
Our  departure  is  certainly  to  take  place  as  soon  as  fresh 
remittances  arrive.  The  many  unnecessary  expenses  he 
has  incurred  would  be  of  little  consequence  if  his  happiness 
increased  in  proportion ;  but  he  was  never  less  happy  than 
at  present !  He  feels  that  he  is  not  now  what  he  formerly 
was  —  he  is  dissatisfied  with  himself,  and  rushes  into  new 
dissipation,  to  avoid  the  piercing  consequences  of  reflec- 

*  In  the  unfavourable  opinion  which  the  Baron  F forms  of  our  Prince 

in  several  parts  of  the  first  letter,  every  one  who  has  the  happiness  to  know 
him  intimately,  will  think  with  me,  that  he  went  beyond  the  limits  of  his  judg- 
ment, and  will  ascribe  it  to  the  prejudice  of  this  young  observer. 

NOTE  OF  THE  COUNT  O . 


80  THE    GHOST-SEEB. 

tion.  One  new  acquaintance  follows  another,  which  is 
fatal  to  his  reformation.  I  know  not  what  may  happen  ; 
we  must  depart, — we  have  no  other  safety.  —  But,  dear 
friend,  as  yet  I  have  not  received  a  single  line  from  you ; 
how  must  I  interpret  this  long  silence  ? 

The  same  to  the  same. 

June  12th. 

Receive  my  thanks,  dear  friend,  for  that  token  of  your 

remembrance  which  young  B hi  brought  over  to  me. 

But  what  do  you  say  about  letters  which  I  was  to  have 
received  ?  I  have  not  received  any  letters  from  you  till 
now, — not  even  a  line.  What  a  circuit  must  those  which 

I  now  receive  have  taken  !     For  the  future,  dear  O , 

when  you  honour  me  with  your  letters,  send  them  by 
Trent,  and  under  cover  to  my  master. 

We  have  at  length  been  obliged,  my  dear  friend,  to  take 
that  step  which  we  had  hitherto  so  fortunately  avoided.  The 
remittances  were  kept  back,  even  at  this  pressing  emergency 
—  for  the  first  time  were  they  kept  back  ;  we  were  abso- 
lutely compelled  to  have  recourse  to  a  usurer,  and  the 
Prince  willingly  pays  something  more  for  the  sake  of 
secrecy.  The  worst  of  these  unpleasant  circumstances  is, 
that  it  delays  our  departure.  Such  was  the  state  of  our 
affairs  when  the  Prince  and  I  came  to  an  explanation. 
The  whole  of  the  business  had  passed  through  Biondello's 
hands,  and  the  Jew  was  present  before  I  had  the  least  sus- 
picion of  it.  I  was  grieved  to  the  heart  to  see  the  Prince 
reduced  to  such  an  extremity,  and  it  revived  in  me  all  the 
recollection  of  the  past,  and  all  my  fears  for  the  future ;  so 
that  I  certainly  might  have  looked  a  little  melancholy  and 
gloomy  when  the  usurer  left  the  room.  The  Prince,  to 
whom  the  preceding  scene  had  doubtless  been  by  no  means 
pleasing,  walked  backwards  and  forwards  with  uneasiness. 
The  rouleaus  of  gold  were  yet  lying  on  the  table  —  I  was 
standing  at  the  window,  and  employing  myself  in  counting 
the  windows  in  the  Procuratie  —  there  was  a  long  silence. 
At  length  he  addressed  himself  to  me  — 

"  F ,"  he  began,  "  I  cannot  bear  any  dismal  faces 

about  me."     I  was  silent.     "  Why  do  you  not  answer 


THE    GHOST-SEER.  81 

me  ?  Do  I  not  see  that  it  will  break  your  heart  not  to 
pour  forth  your  vexation  ?  I  command  you  to  speak.  You 
may,  perhaps,  wonder  what  extraordinary  affairs  I  am 
concealing  from  you."  "  If  I  am  gloomy,  gracious  Sir," 
replied  I,  "  it  is  only  because  I  do  not  see  you  in  better 
spirits."  "  I  know,"  continued  he,  "  that  you  think  I 
have  acted  wrongly  for  some  time  past  —  that  every  step 

which  I  have  taken  has  displeased  you  —  that What 

does  the  Count  d'O say  in  his  letters  ? "  "  The 

Count  d'O has  not  written  to  me."  "  Not  written  ! 

Why  will  you  not  confess  the  truth  ?  You  lay  open  your 
hearts  to  each  other  —  you  and  the  Count.  I  know  it  very 
well :  however,  you  need  not  conceal  it  from  me.  I  shall 
not  introduce  myself  into  your  secrets."  "  The  Count 

d'O ,"  replied  I,  <e  has  only  answered  the  first  of 

three  letters  which  I  wrote  to  him."  u  I  was  wrong," 
continued  he;  <c  is  it  not  so?"  (taking  up  one  of  the 
rouleaus)  ce  I  should  not  have  acted  thus."  f<  I  see  very 
plainly  that  the  step  was  necessary."  "  I  ought  not  to 
have  involved  myself  in  such  a  necessity." 

I  remained  silent.  <f  Indeed,  I  ought  not  to  have  ven- 
tured beyond  that  point  in  the  completion  of  my  wishes, 
so  as  to  have  become  a  grey-beard  as  soon  as  I  became  a 
man.  Because  I  once  step  forth  from  the  dreary  uniform- 
ity of  my  former  life,  and  look  around  me  to  see  whether 
there  will  spring  up  no  source  of  enjoyment  for  me  in 

any  other  quarter  ;  because  I "  <e  If  it  were  only  a 

trial,  gracious  Sir,  I  have  nothing  more  to  say  ;  for  the 
experience  which  it  has  procured  for  you  would  not  be 
purchased  at  too  dear  a  rate,  though  it  cost  three  times  as 
much.  It  hurts  me,  I  must  confess,  that  the  opinion  of 
the  world  should  have  to  decide  upon  the  question,  How 
you  can  be  happy?"  ce  Fortunate  man,  who  can  thus 
despise  the  opinion  of  the  world  !  I  am  its  creature,  and 
must  be  its  slave.  What  else  are  we  governed  by  but 
opinion  ?  Opinion  is  every  thing  with  us  princes.  Opinion 
is  our  nurse  and  educatress  in  infancy,  our  legislatress  and 
mistress  in  our  manly  years,  and  our  crutch  in  old  age. 
Take  from  us  what  we  receive  from  opinion,  and  the 
meanest  of  the  humblest  class  is  better  off  than  we  are  ; 

VOL.  i.  p 


82  THE    GHOST- SEER. 

for  his  fate  has  taught  him  a  philosophy  which  enables 
him  to  bear  it.  A  prince  who  laughs  at  opinion,  is  his 
own  destroyer,  like  the  priest  who  denies  the  existence  of 
a  God." 

"  And  yet,  gracious  Prince — "  "  I  know  what  you  are 
going  to  say.  I  can  pass  the  boundary  of  the  circle  which 
my  birth  has  drawn  around  me.  But  can  I  eradicate  from 
my  memory  all  the  foolish  ideas  which  education  and  early 
habit  have  planted  in  it,  and  which  a  hundred  thousand  of 
you  fools  have  ever  been  impressing  with  more  and  more 
firmness?  Every  one  wishes  to  be  what  he  is  to  per- 
fe6tion,  and  our  existence  consists,  in  short,  in  appearing 
happy.  If  we  cannot  be  so  according  to  your  mode,  shall 
we  not  for  that  reason  be  so  at  all  ?  If  we  can  no  longer 
taste  of  joy  immediately  from  its  uncorrupted  source,  shall 
we  not  deceive  ourselves  with  an  artificial  enjoyment  ?  shall 
we  not  snatch  a  small  compensation  even  from  the  very 
hand  which  robs  us  ? "  ' (  You  once  found  these  joys  in 
your  own  heart."  "  But  if  I  do  not  any  longer  find  them 
there !  —  Oh,  how  came  we  to  fall  upon  this  subject  ? 
Why  must  you  awake  in  me  the  recollection  of  that,  even 
if  I  have  had  recourse  to  this  tumult  of  voluptuousness,  in 
order  to  stifle  a  voice  which  renders  my  life  miserable  — 
in  order  to  lull  to  rest  this  inquisitive  reason,  which  moves 
to  and  fro  in  my  brain  like  a  sharp  sickle,  and  with  every 
new  stroke  cuts  off  a  new  branch  of  my  happiness  ? " 
"Best  of  princes!"  He  got  up,  and  walked  backwards 
and  forwards  in  the  room  with  unusual  agitation,  and  soon 
after  left  it. 

Pardon,  dear  O — ,  this  tedious  letter.  You  wish  to 

know  every  trifle  which  concerns  the  Prince,  and  I  may 
justly  rank  his  moral  philosophy  among  them.  I  know 
that  the  state  of  his  mind  is  important  to  you,  and  his 
actions,  I  am  aware,  are  on  that  account  also  important 
to  you.  I  have  for  that  reason  faithfully  transcribed  all 
that  I  recollected  of  this  conversation.  I  shall  at  a  future 
period  inform  you  of  a  new  occurrence,  which  you  could 
hardly  have  been  led  to  expect  from  a  dialogue  like  that  of 
to-day.  Farewell. 


THE    GHOST-SEER.  83 

The  same  to  the  same. 

July  I. 

As  the  time  for  our  departure  from  Venice  approaches,  we 
are  determined  to  employ  this  week  in  an  examination  of 
all  the  remarkable  pictures  and  buildings,,  which  is  ge- 
nerally delayed  to  the  last  moment.  They  praised  highly 
the  work*  of  Paul  Veronese,  which  was  to  be  seen  in  a 
Benedictine  convent  upon  the  island  of  St.  George.  You 
must  not  expect  from  me  a  minute  description  of  this 
beautiful  masterpiece,  from  the  contemplation  of  which 
I  derived  the  most  satisfactory  pleasure;  but  it  was  a  sight 
worthy  to  be  enjoyed  longer.  We  should  have  had  as 
many  hours  as  minutes  to  study  a  painting  of  a  hundred 
and  twenty  figures,  which  is  thirty  feet  in  breadth.  It  is 
impossible  to  observe  the  beauties  which  the  artist  has  dis- 
played in  it,  by  just  glancing  at  the  whole.  It  is  however 
a  pity  that  so  valuable  a  work,  which  ought  to  adorn  a 
place  of  more  utility,  should  be  buried  within  the  walls  of 
a  convent  for  a  few  monks  to  gaze  at.  The  church  of 
this  convent  deserves  also  the  attention  of  the  connoisseur: 
it  is  one  of  the  handsomest  in  the  city. 

Towards  evening  we  set  off  for  the  Giudecca,  to  spend 
a  few  hours  in  the  charming  gardens  that  surround  it. 
The  society,  which  was  not  numerous,  separated  very 
soon ;  and  Civitella,  who  had  been  the  whole  day  seeking 
for  an  opportunity  to  speak  to  me  in  private,  thus  ad- 
dressed me — <c  You  are  the  friend  of  the  Prince,  and 
possess  his  confidence,  as  I  know  from  good  authority. 
When  I  went  to-day  to  his  hotel,  I  met  a  man  upon  the 
stairs,  and  immediately  guessed  the  business  he  had  been 
upon.  I  found  the  Prince,  as  I  entered  his  apartments, 
thoughtful  and  dejected."  I  was  about  to  interrupt  him. 
t{  You  cannot  deny  it,"  he  continued,  "  I  know  the  man, 
for  I  took  very  particular  notice  of  his  person.  Is  it  pos- 
sible that  the  Prince,  who  has  friends  at  Venice,  to  whom 
he  is  as  dear  as  life,  should  in  a  case  of  necessity  make  use 
of  such  a  wretch  ?  Be  sincere,  baron  !  —  Is  the  Prince 
embarrassed  in  his  circumstances?  You  may  endeavour 

*  The  marriage  at  Cana. 
F    2 


84  THE    GHOST-SEER. 

to  hide  the  truth,  but  it  is  in  vain.  What  I  cannot  learn 
from  you  I  will  obtain  from  a  man  to  whom  every  secret 
is  a  prize,  and  ready  to  be  sold."  ' '  What,  Marquis ! " 
c(  Pardon  me.  I  must  endure  the  charge  of  being  in- 
discreet, to  avoid  the  imputation  of  ingratitude.  The 
Prince  saved  my  life,  and,  what  goes  far  beyond  that,  he 
has  instilled  into  my  mind  the  principles  of  virtue.  If  I 
see  the  Prince  act  in  a  manner  which  must  be  expensive 
to  him,  and  beneath  his  dignity ;  if  it  is  in  my  power  to 
assist  him,  I  never  can  resist  it."  "  The  Prince  is  not 
now  in  any  embarrassment.  Several  remittances,  which  we 
expected  from  Trent,  are,  indeed,  unexpectedly  detained  ; 
but  accidentally  perhaps,  or  from  the  idea  that  his  de- 
parture is  near  at  hand.  This  is  now  fixed  upon ;  and 
till  then — "  He  shook  his  head.  <e  Do  not  deceive  me," 
said  he.  "  I  mean  not  by  doing  this  to  diminish  the  obli- 
gation I  owe  the  Prince.  No,  not  all  the  riches  of  my 
uncle  eould  repay  him.  I  am  anxious  to  free  him  from 
one  unhappy  moment.  My  uncle  possesses  a  large  fortune, 
which  I  can  dispose  of  as  if  it  were  my  own.  I  cor. 
sider  it  a  fortunate  circumstance  that  the  moment  is  arrived 
when  I  can  be  useful  to  the  Prince.  I  know,"  he  con- 
tinued, "  with  what  delicacy  the  Prince  will  treat  my 
offer; — but,  on  the  other  hand,  I  hope  he  will  lay  aside 
his  prejudices,  and  suffer  me  to  enjoy  the  satisfaction  of 
having  in  some  measure  returned  the  obligation  I  owe  to 
him."  He  continued  to  urge  his  request  till  I  had  pro- 
mised him  that  I  would  do  all  in  my  power  to  make  the 
Prince  accept  his  offer.  But  I  knew  his  character,  and 
for  that  reason  I  despaired  of  success.  He  appeared  satis- 
fied however  with  my  promise,  though  he  confessed  that  it 
would  give  him  great  uneasiness  if  the  Prince  considered 
him  in  the  light  of  a  stranger.  Lost  in  conversation,  we 
had  wandered  from  the  company,  and  were  just  about  to 

return,  when   Z approached   us.     "  I    thought   the 

Prince  had  been  with  you  ?"  said  he:  "  is  he  not  here?" 
We  immediately  returned  with  him,  thinking  to  find  the 
Prince  with  the  other  part  of  the  company.     fc  The  so- 
ciety is  together,  but  the  Prince  is  not  among  them,"  said 
I ;  ( '  I  really  do  not  know  how  it  happened  that  we  missed 


THE    GHOST-SEER.  85 

him."  Here  Civitella  suggested  that  he  might  possibly 
have  visited  the  adjoining  church,  which  he  had  a  little 
time  before  remarked  for  its  beauty.  We  immediately 
went  to  seek  for  him  there.  As  we  approached  it  we  dis- 
covered Biondello  waiting  at  the  entrance.  When  we 
came  nearer,  we  observed  the  Prince  rush  hastily  out  from 
a  small  door  ;  the  agitation  of  his  mind  was  impressed 
upon  his  countenance.  He  called  Biondello  to  him,  and 
seemed  to  instruct  him  in  the  execution  of  some  commission 
of  consequence ;  his  eyes  were  constantly  directed  to  the 
gate,  which  remained  open.  Biondello  hastened  into  the 
church.  The  Prince,  without  perceiving  us,  pushed  through 
the  crowd,  and  went  back  to  the  society. 

It  was  resolved  to  sup  in  an  open  pavilion,  and  the 
Marquis,  without  our  knowledge,  had  procured  some  mu- 
sicians to  entertain  us  with  a  concert.  It  was  quite  select; 
but  there  was  among  the  performers  a  young  lady  who  sung 
delightfully,  and  whose  voice  did  not  more  enchant  us  than 
the  beauty  of  her  person.  Nothing  seemed  to  make  an  im- 
pression upon  the  Prince ;  he  spoke  little,  and  answered 
our  questions  confusedly;  his  eyes  were  constantly  riveted 
upon  the  spot  from  whence  Biondello  was  to  come ;  and  it 
was  visible  to  all,  that  something  of  consequence  affected 
his  mind.  Civitella  asked  him  how  he  liked  the  church ; 
he  could  not  give  any  description  of  it.  He  spoke  of 
several  remarkable  pictures,  which  were  highly  esteemed  ; 
but  he  had  not  observed  them.  We  perceived  that  our 
questions  were  unpleasant  to  him,  and  therefore  we  dis- 
continued our  enquiries.  One  hour  after  another  passed 
away,  and  Biondello  did  not  arrive.  The  impatience  of 
the  Prince  could  no  longer  be  concealed :  he  went  from 
supper  very  early,  and  walked  alone  up  and  down  the  aisles 
of  the  church  with  agitated  steps.  No  person  could  imagine 
what  had  happened  to  him.  I  did  not  venture  to  ask  him 
the  reason  for  such  a  sudden  change  in  his  disposition,  as  I 
could  not  now  treat  him  with  that  familiarity  I  did  formerly. 
With  so  much  more  impatience,  therefore,  did  I  expect 
the  arrival  of  Biondello,  that  he  might  explain  to  me  the 
mystery. 

It  was  past  ten  o'clock  before  he  came  back.  The  ac- 
F  3 


86 


THE    GHOST-SEER. 


counts  which  he  brought  to  the  Prince  did  not  contribute  to 
dissipate  the  gloom  of  melancholy.  He  returned  to  the 
pavilion  apparently  uneasy  and  dissatisfied.  Soon  after,  the 
boat  was  ordered,  and  we  went  home.  I  could  not  find  a 
single  opportunity  the  whole  evening  to  speak  with  Bion- 
dello ;  and  I  was  at  last  obliged  to  go  to  bed  without  being 
able  to  satisfy  my  curiosity.  The  Prince  dismissed  us  very 
early;  but  a  thousand  unpleasant  reflections  which  tor- 
mented me  kept  me  awake.  I  could  distinctly  hear  the 
Prince  walking  up  and  down  his  chamber  till  a  late  hour ; 
at  last  I  dropped  into  a  dose,  but  was  soon  roused  from 
slumber  by  a  person  who  appeared  at  my  bedside  with  a 
lamp  in  his  hand.  When  I  looked  up,  I  discovered  it  to 
be  the  Prince.  He  could  not  close  his  eyes,  he  said,  and 
begged  of  me  to  pass  the  night  with  him.  I  would  have 
risen  and  dressed  myself;  but  he  commanded  me  to  remain 
as  I  was,  and  seated  himself  on  my  bed. 

cc  An  extraordinary  circumstance  has  happened  to  me  to- 
day," said  he,  "and  the  impression  it  has  made  upon  my 
mind  will  never  be  effaced.  I  went,  as  you  must  recollect, 
to  see  *  *  *  church,  to  which  Civitella  directed  my  at- 
tention, and  which  had  at  a  distance  excited  my  curiosity. 
As  neither  you  nor  he  were  present,  I  went  in  alone,  and 
bade  Biondello  wait  for  me  at  the  entrance.  The  church  was 
quite  dark  and  solitary.  The  aisles  were  cold  and  damp. 
I  felt  a  sudden  dullness  steal  all  over  me ;  I  saw  myself 
alone  amidst  the  dead,  in  a  sanctuary  where  a  solemn 
silence,  as  in  the  grave,  reigned  in  every  part.  I  placed 
myself  in  the  middle  of  the  dome,  and  gave  my  soul  up  to 
contemplation.  Soon,  however,  the  gothic  beauty  of  the 
building  arrested  my  attention.  It  appeared,  as  I  examined 
it,  more  and  more  delightful.  It  called  forth  the  powers  of 
awful  meditation.  The  evening  bell  was  tolling ;  its  hollow 
sound,  as  I  heard  it  faintly  in  the  aisle,  overpowered  me 
with  an  unusual  melancholy.  Some  altar-pieces  at  a  dis- 
tance attracted  my  attention.  I  went  nearer,  to  view  them 
distinctly  :  unperceived,  I  had  wandered  through  the  aisles 
of  the  church,  and  was  approaching  the  end,  when,  by  ac- 
cident, I  went  round  a  pillar  up  a  flight  of  steps,  which 
lead  into  a  side  chapel,  decorated  with  several  little  altars 


THE    GHOST-SEER.  87 

and  statues  of  saints.  As  soon  as  I  entered  the  chapel  I 
heard  a  soft  whispering,  turned  towards  the  spot  from 
whence  I  heard  the  voice,  and  about  two  steps  from  me  dis- 
covered a  female  figure.  Fright  almost  overpowered  me  ; 
but  after  a  few  moments  had  elapsed  I  recovered,  and  con- 
templated an  object  which  I  cannot  describe  with  justice." 

"  And  does  your  Highness  know  for  certain  that  it  was 
alive — that  it  was  not  fancy — a  picture  of  the  brain?" 
"  Hear  farther — it  was  a  lady.  Until  that  moment  I  had 
never  regarded  the  sex  !  The  rays  of  the  setting  sun,  that 
illumined  the  chapel,  enabled  me  to  observe  that  she  was  in 
the  act  of  praying  before  an  altar.  Nature  seemed  to  have 
lavished  all  her  perfections  on  her  lovely  form.  She  was 
elegantly  dressed  in  black  silk,  which  spread  around  her  in 
large  folds  like  a  Spanish  robe ;  her  long  light-coloured  hair 
burst  from  under  the  veil,  and  flowed  in  charming  disorder 
down  her  back ;  one  of  her  hands  touched  the  crucifix,  as 
she  rested  her  head  upon  the  other.  But  how  shall  I  find 
words  to  describe  to  you  the  angelic  beauty  of  her  coun- 
tenance !  The  sunbeams  played  upon  it,  and  heightened 
the  divine  expression  that  seemed  to  glow  in  it.  Can  you 
call  back  to  your  mind  the  Madonna  of  Florence  ?  She  was 
the  exact  copy  of  the  artless  enchanting  beauty  which  is  so 
irresistibly  expressed  in  that  picture." 

Of  the  Madonna  of  which  the  Prince  speaks,  the  case  is 
this : — Shortly  after  your  departure,  the  Prince  became 
acquainted  with  a  painter  from  Florence,  who  had  been 
ordered  to  Venice  to  paint  an  altar-piece  for  a  church  ;  his 
name  I  do  not  now  remember.  He  brought  with  him  three 
pictures,  which  he  had  executed  for  the  gallery  in  the  Ca- 
narian  Palace.  The  subjects  were  a  Madonna,  a  Heloise, 
and  a  Venus  in  dishabille.  From  the  exquisite  manner  in 
which  they  were  all  painted,  it  was  almost  impossible  to  de- 
cide which  was  superior  in  beauty.  The  Prince  alone  did 
not  hesitate  a  moment  to  decide ;  they  were  scarcely  put 
before  him  when  the  Madonna  attracted  his  whole  attention  ; 
in  both  the  others  the  genius  of  the  painter  was  admired, 
but  this  he  surveyed  with  enthusiasm.  He  was  so  en- 
amoured with  it,  that  he  could  not  be  persuaded  to  quit  it. 
The  artist,  we  could  perceive  by  his  countenance,  enjoyed 
r  4 


88  THE    GHOST- SEER. 

the  judgment  of  the  Prince ;  he  had  the  wit  not  to  separate 
the  three  pictures,  and  demanded  1500  zequins  for  them. 
The  Prince  offered  him  half  the  price  for  the  Madonna. 
The  artist  insisted  upon  his  demand;  and  who  knows  what 
might  have  happened  if  he  had  not  found  a  purchaser  for 
his  works  ?  Two  hours  after,  all  the  three  pieces  were 
gone  ;  and  we  have  not  seen  them  since.  This  was  the 
picture  that  the  Prince  brought  to  his  memory. 

"  I  stood/'  he  continued,  <(  in  silent  admiration.  She 
did  not  ohserve  me  j  she  was  not  disturbed  by  my  arrival ; 
so  entirely  was  she  lost  in  adoration.  She  prayed  to  her  God, 
and  I  prayed  to  her  eyes ;  saints,  altars,  or  burning  tapers, 
had  never  before  reminded  me  that  I  was  in  a  sanctuary  ; 
I  was  seized  with  enthusiasm.  Shall  I  confess  to  you, 
that  I  believed,  from  that  very  moment,  in  the  influence  of 
the  crucifix  she  held  in  her  beautiful  hand.  I  read  our 
Saviour's  answer  in  her  eyes.  Thanks  to  her  charming 
piety  !  she  painted  his  true  character  to  me.  My  ideas 
wandered  with  her's  through  the  ways  of  heaven.  She 
rose,  and  I  stepped  aside  with  embarrassment ;  the  noise 
I  made  discovered  me.  The  unexpected  appearance  of  a 
man  alarmed  her ;  I  was  fearful  that  my  boldness  might 
offend ;  for  as  she  glanced  at  me,  the  beauteous  rays 
of  innocence  and  virtue  played  upon  her  countenance.  As 
she  rose  from  prayer,  I  was  the  first  happy  creature  which 
offered  itself  to  her  sight.  In  an  adjoining  corner  of  the 
chapel,  I  saw  an  elderly  lady  rise  from  her  seat,  and  come 
towards  us.  I  had  not  till  then  perceived  her.  She  was 
but  a  few  steps  distant  from  me,  and  no  doubt  had  wit- 
nessed all  my  actions.  I  was  somewhat  confused  —  I  cast 
my  eyes  as  it  were  involuntarily  on  the  ground,  and  they 
rushed  by  me.  I  looked  after  her  as  she  passed  along  the 
aisle.  The  beautiful  figure  was  with  her  —  What  grace, 
what  majesty  appeared  in  all  her  steps !  She  was  no 
longer  the  being  that  I  first  beheld  ;  no,  she  was  possessed 
of  a  thousand  new  charms.  I  followed  at  a  distance  with 
trembling  steps,  undetermined  whether  I  should  overtake 
her  or  not.  I  waited  with  impatience  to  see  if  she  would 
bestow  upon  me  another  look  ;  —  for  the  one  she  gave  me 
as  she  passed  by  was  lost  upon  me.  With  what  extreme 
anxiety  did  I  expect  it ! 


THE    GHOST-SEER.  8Q 

(<  They  stopped  suddenly ;  but  I  was  not  able  to  set  a 
foot  forwards.  The  elderly  lady,  who  perhaps  might  be 
her  mother,  observed  the  disorder  of  her  hair,  and  imme- 
diately adjusted  it.  That  done,  they  approached  the  gate. 
I  doubled  my  steps  —  she  disappeared  by  degrees  —  I 
could  only  see  the  shadow  of  her  robe  as  it  floated  in  the 
air.  A  flower  had  fallen  from  her  bosom  ;  she  returned  in 
haste  to  fetch  it  —  she  once  more  looked  back,  and  —  after 
me  !  —  whom  else  could  she  seek  in  a  place  so  solitary  ? 
She  appeared  as  if  I  was  no  longer  a  stranger  to  her ;  — 
but  she  deserted  me  like  the  flower  which  seemed  unworthy 

to  be  replaced  in  her  bosom.  Dear  F I  am  almost 

ashamed  to  own  to  you  with  what  childish  rapture  I  inter- 
preted that  look  —  that  last  expressive  look,  which  was  not 
perhaps  designed  for  me  ! " 

fe  You  may  rely  upon  it,  it  was." 

"  It  is  singular/'  said  the  Prince,  after  a  long  silence, 
((  that  we  should  lament  the  loss  of  an  object  we  never 
saw  before  —  but  I  feel  as  if  I  exist  only  for  her.  That 
in  a  single  moment  man  should  display  two  such  opposite 
characters  ?  I  look  back  upon  the  happiness  I  received 
yesterday  morning  with  all  that  exquisite  feeling  with 
which  we  trace  the  days  of  childhood.  This  picture  lives 
in  my  remembrance,  and  forces  me  to  acknowledge  that  it 
is  my  god  !  "  "  Recollect,  gracious  Sir,"  said  I,  "  in 
what  gloomy  though tfulness  your  mind  was  wrapt  when 
this  ideal  divinity  appeared  to  you ;  the  association  of 
ideas  alone  inflamed  your  imagination.  Quitting  the 
beautifuriight  of  day,  and  the  tumult  of  the  world,  you 
were  suddenly  surrounded  by  darkness  and  silence,  im- 
pressed with  sensations  which,  as  you  confessed  yourself, 
tended  to  impress  you  with  melancholy,  whilst  the  majesty 
of  the  structure,  and  the  contemplation  of  beauty  in  the 
works  of  different  artists,  aided  the  train  of  ideas  you  were 
supporting.  In  the  mean  time,  alone  and  solitary,  you 
gave  yourself  up  to  reflection ;  in  the  midst  of  your  medi- 
tations you  observe  the  figure  of  a  female,  where  you  did 
not  expect  to  meet  a  soul  —  still  more  enchanting  by  a 
fine  form,  which  was  heightened  by  a  favourable  illumi- 
nation of  the  setting  sun  —  a  fortunate  situation,  and  a 


90  THE    GHOST-SEER. 

captivating  display  of  piety  —  what  is.  more  likely  than 
that  your  disturbed  fancy  deceived  you  ?  " 

"  Can  memory  give  back  impressions  it  has  never  re- 
ceived ?  In  my  whole  country  there  is  nothing  that  I 
could  justly  put  in  comparison  with  that  picture.  Entire 
and  unchanged,  as  in  the  moment  of  beholding  it,  it  lies 
in  my  memory ;  I  can  think  of  nothing  but  that  picture 
—  and  in  vain  might  you  offer  me  a  whole  world  for  it  ! " 
(f  Gracious  Prince,  this  is  love."  "  Must  it  then  be  by  a 
name  that  I  am  to  be  made  happy  ?  Love  !  —  Do  not 
think  so  meanly  of  my  feelings  as  to  accuse  me  of  that 
which  influences  a  thousand  feeble  souls  !  Who  has  ever 
felt  what  I  endure  !  Such  a  being  as  I  am  never  was  in 
existence  before  !  How  then  can  you  give  my  sensations 
a  name  ?  It  is  a  new  and  singular  suffering,  originating 
with  her  that  I  adore.  —  Love  !  No,  from  love  I  am 
quite  secure  ! "  "  You  sent  Biondello,  no  doubt,  to  find 
out  the  path  your  fair  unknown  pursued,  and  to  get  some 
information  of  her  —  What  accounts  did  he  bring  you 
back?" 

"  Biondello  has  discovered  nothing.  He  found  her  at 
the  church  gate.  An  old  well-dressed  man  (who  had  the 
appearance  of  a  citizen  from  this  city,  and  not  a  servant) 
conducted  her  to  the  boat.  Some  poor  peasants  smiled 
upon  her  as  she  passed  them,  and  she  rewarded  them  with 
money.  By  this  means  one  of  her  hands  became  visible; 
it  was  ornamented  with  several  precious  stones.  She  said 
something  to  her  companion,  which  Biondello  did  not  under- 
stand ;  he  maintained  it  to  be  Greek.  She  had  to  walk  a 
considerable  distance  to  the  canal.  The  people  began  to 
collect  round  her  ;  so  extraordinary  a  sight  surprised  all 
the  peasants.  Nobody  knew  her  —  but  beauty  is  born  a 
queen.  All  made  way  for  her  in  an  humble  submissive 
manner.  She  let  fall  a  black  veil  over  her  face,  and  hast- 
ened into  the  boat.  To  the  extent  of  the  channel  of  the 
Giudecca,  Biondello  kept  the  boat  in  sight,  but'  could  not 
pursue  its  course  farther,  owing  to  the  concourse  of  people." 
"  Has  he  not  taken  notice  of  the  waterman  ?  "  "  He  en- 
deavoured in  vain  to  find  him ;  for  it  was  not  one  of  them 
with  whom  he  is  connected.  The  poor  people  of  whom 


THE    GHOST-SEER.  91 

he  enquired  could  give  him  no  other  account,  than  that  the 
lady  for  several  weeks  past  had  landed  on  the  same  spot  on 
a  Sunday  evening,  when  she  distributed  some  gold  pieces 
amongst  them.  They  were  Dutch  ducats,  which  I  dis- 
covered by  one  that  Biondello  had  procured." 

"  A  Greek  lady  of  fortune  and  rank,  as  it  should  seem 
by  your  description.  That  is  quite  sufficient,  gracious  Sir, 
to  aid  us  in  a  discovery.  But  a  Greek  lady  and  in  a 
catholic  church  ! "  ' '  Why  not  ?  She  may  have  changed  her 
religion.  But  I  admit  there  is  something  in  all  this  that  we 
do  not  understand.  Why  does  she  come  only  once  a  week  ? 
Why  only  on  a  Sunday  evening,  at  an  hour  when  the 
church  is  entirely  deserted,  as  Biondello  told  me  ?  —  Next 
Sunday  evening  must  decide  this.  But  till  then,  my  dear 
friend,  assist  me  in  the  difficult  task  of  passing  away  the 
time  !  Days  and  hours  will  elapse  in  their  ordinary  course, 
but  are  of  too  long  duration  for  a  mind  like  mine."  (<  And 
when  that  day  arrives  —  what  is  to  be  done  ?  "  "  What 
is  to  be  done  ?  I  shall  see  her  again.  I  shall  discover 
who  she  is,  and  the  place  of  her  residence.  Why  should  I 
be  unhappy,  when  I  know  how  to  alleviate  my  sufferings  ?" 
ei  But  our  departure  from  Venice,  which  is  fixed  for  the 
beginning  of  next  month  ? "  "  Could  I  imagine  that 
Venice  contained  such  a  treasure  !  I  will  not  think  of  my 
past  life,  but  date  my  existence  from  this  hour." 

I  thought  this  a  favourable  opportunity  of  keeping  my 
word  with  the  Marquis.  I  gave  the  Prince  to  understand, 
that  for  him  to  continue  at  Venice  in  the  present  state  of 
our  finances  would  by  no  means  be  proper ;  and  that,  if 
he  prolonged  his  stay  beyond  the  term,  he  could  not  expect 
that  his  court  would  support  him.  I  now  discovered  a 
secret  which  till  then  had  been  unknown  to  me,  that  he 
received  succours  clandestinely  from  his  sister,  the  reigning 

Princess  of ,  which  she  is  very  willing  to  increase  if 

his  court  should  abandon  him.  This  sister  is  a  pious 
fanatic,  you  know,  and  thinks  the  great  savings  which  she 
makes  at  a  very  economical  court  cannot  be  disposed  of 
better  than  to  a  brother  whose  character  she  enthusiastically 
venerates.  I  was  confident,  some  time  back,  that  there 
existed  a  good  understanding  between  them,  and  that  many 


92  THE    GHOST-SEER. 

letters  had  been  exchanged ;  but  as  the  Prince's  own  re- 
sources were  sufficient  to  defray  his  expenses,  I  never  once 
thought  of  this  secret  channel.  It  was  now  clear  that  the 
Prince  had  expenses  which  were  unknown  to  me  :  these 
still  remain  a  secret ;  and  if  I  may  conclude  from  what  I 
know  of  his  character,  they  are  not  of  that  nature  which 
will  disgrace  him.  I  was  certain  now  that  I  had  found 
him  out.  I  did  not  therefore  hesitate  to  make  known  to 
him  immediately  the  offer  of  the  Marquis,  which,  to  my 
great  astonishment,  was  accepted  without  any  difficulty. 
He  gave  me  free  liberty  to  conduct  the  business  with  the 
Marquis  in  such  a  manner  as  I  thought,  best,  and  then 
ordered  me  to  dismiss  the  usurer,  and  write  immediately 
to  his  sister. 

It  was  daybreak  when  we  separated.  This  event  has 
made  me  very  uneasy  for  more  reasons  than  one,  par- 
ticularly that  it  compels  us  to  prolong  our  stay  at  Venice. 
This  sudden  passion  for  the  unknown  lady  I  expect  will 
rather  be  of  service  to  him  than  otherwise.  She  will 
perhaps  be  the  means  of  reclaiming  the  Prince.  I  hope  it 
will  affect  him  in  the  ordinary  way  with  a  slight  illness, 
and  so  eradicate  his  prejudices.  Farewell,  my  dear  friend. 
I  have  written  this  letter  on  the  spur  of  the  moment.  The 
post  is  about  to  depart.  You  will  receive  this  letter  with 
the  foregoing  one  on  the  same  day. 

The  same  to  the  same. 

July  20. 

This  Civitella  is  one  of  the  most  serviceable  men  in  the 
\vorld.  The  Prince  had  not  long  left  me  when  a  note  ar- 
rived from  the  Marquis,  in  which  he  politely  reminded  me 
of  my  promise,  I  sent  him  immediately  a  bond,  executed 
by  the  Prince  for  six  thousand  zechins ;  in  less  than  half 
an  hour  it  was  returned,  with  an  enclosed  draught  for  double 
the  sum.  The  Prince  accepted  it,  but  insisted  that  the 
bond  should  be  given  in  return,  which  was  only  for  the 
space  of  six  weeks. 

This  whole  week  has  been  spent  in  enquiries  after  the 
mysterious  Greek  lady.  Biondello  put  his  machines  in 
motion ;  but  all  were  fruitless.  He  has  indeed  found  the 


THE    GHOST-SEER. 

waterman ;  but  he  could  learn  nothing  farther  from  him,, 
than  that  he  had  set  both  the  ladies  on  shore  upon  the 
island  of  Murano,  where  two  chairs  waited  for  them.  He 
supposed  her  to  be  an  English  lady,  because  she  spoke  a 
foreign  language,  and  paid  him  in  gold.  He  did  not  know 
her  conductor,  but  he  appeared  to  him  to  be  a  looking-glass 
manufacturer  from  Murano.  We  were  now  convinced  that 
we  had  not  to  seek  for  her  in  the  Giudecca,  and  that  she 
was  probably  at  home  upon  the  island  of  Murano ;  but  the 
misfortune  was,  that,  from  the  description  which  the  Prince 
gave  of  her,  she  could  not  be  known  by  a  third  person. 
The  impassioned  frenzy  which  seized  him  at  the  moment 
hindered  him  from  observing  her  minutely.  To  that  to 
which  other  people  would  have  principally  directed  their 
attention,  he  was  quite  blind.  After  such  a  description  as 
his,  one  might  have  sought  for  her  in  Ariosto  or  Tasso  with 
more  probability  than  upon  a  Venetian  island.  His  en- 
quiries must  be  made  with  the  greatest  secrecy  and  precau- 
tion, to  prevent  impeaching  the  virtue  of  the  lady ;  and  as 
Biondello  was  the  only  person  besides  the  Prince  who  had 
seen  her  through  the  veil,  and  therefore  could  know  her 
again,  they  sought  together  for  her  in  ah1  places  where  it 
was  thought  possible  that  she  could  be.  The  life  of  this 
good-tempered  man  was  this  week  spent  in  traversing  all 
the  streets  of  Venice.  In  the  Greek  church  he  made  par- 
ticular enquiries,  but  all  to  no  purpose ;  and  the  Prince, 
although  more  and  more  impatient  at  every  disappointment, 
was  at  last  obliged  to  comfort  himself  till  the  next  Sun- 
day evening. 

His  impatience  was  pitiable.  Nothing  pleased  him — 
nothing  excited  his  attention.  His  hours  were  spent  in 
anxiety  and  distress :  he  fled  from  society,  but  the  evil  in- 
creased in  solitude.  He  was  never  more  surrounded  by 
visiters  than  he  was  this.  week.  His  departure  had  been 
announced  as  near  at  hand — all  pressed  themselves  upon 
him.  Being  obliged  to  entertain  those  people,  to  avoid  all 
suspicion,  we  contrived  to  occupy  his  mind  in  order  that 
we  might  dissipate  his  melancholy.  In  this  situation  Civi- 
tella  hit  upon  gaming ;  and  to  detain  the  company,  he  pro- 
posed to  stake  very  high.  In  the  mean  time  he  flattered 


THE    GHOST-SEER. 


himself  that  he  should  tempt  the  Prince  to  play,  which  he 
thought  would  very  soon  conquer  his  romantic  ideas.  This 
scheme,  although  hazardous,  they  knew  could  not  injure 
him,  as  they  had  it  in  their  power  to  desist  at  any  time  from 
playing. 

•  "  Cards,"  said  the  Marquis,  "  have  often  prevented  me 
from  pursuing  follies  which  I  anticipated,  and  relieved  me 
from  reflectingupon  those  I  had  committed.  The  tranquillity 
of  mind  which  a  pair  of  charming  eyes  deprive  me  of,  I 
have  very  often  found  again  at  the  faro  table ;  and  women 
never  had  half  the  effect  upon  my  spirits  as  not  being  en- 
abled to  play  from  poverty." 

I  consented,  in  as  far  as  I  thought  Civitella  might  be 
in  the  right;  but  the  means  which  we  instituted  began 
soon  to  become  more  dangerous  than  the  evil  we  endea- 
voured to  destroy.  The  Prince,  who  thought  to  make  the 
game  attractive  by  betting  very  high,  found  very  soon  no 
bounds  to  it.  He  was  quite  out  of  his  element.  What  he 
did  was  with  apparent  indifference,  although  his  actions 
betrayed  impatience  and  uneasiness  of  mind.  You  know 
how  indifferent  he  is  about  money,  and  now  he  became 
totally  insensible  of  its  value.  Gold  pieces  ran  away  like 
water.  He  lost  almost  upon  every  card,  because  he  played 
without  paying  any  attention.  He  forfeited  large  sums, 
because  he  ventured  like  a  desperate,  unfortunate  man. — 

Dear  O ,  I  communicate  this  with  an  aching  heart: 

In  four  days  we  had  not  any  of  the  twelve  thousand  ze- 
chins.  Do  not  reproach  me.  I  accuse  myself  sufficiently. 
But  could  I  prevent  it  ?  Could  I  oblige  the  Prince  to  listen 
to  me  ?  Could  I  do  more  than  remonstrate  with  him  ?  I 
did  what  lay  in  my  power :  surely  I  may  say,  that  I  am 
not  guilty.  Civitella  also  lost.  I  won  six  hundred  zechins  ! 
The  unexampled  misfortune  of  the  Prince  was  observed  by 
all,  and  for  that  very  reason  he  would  not  abandon  the 
game.  Civitella,  who  likes  to  show  his  readiness  to  oblige 
him,  lent  him  immediately  the  required  sums. 

This  scene  is  closed ;  but  the  Prince  is  indebted  to  the 
Marquis  twenty-four  thousand  zechins.  Oh  how  I  long 
for  the  spare  money  of  his  pious  sister  1  If  all  princes 
acted  thus,  my  dear  friend .'  His  Highness  behaves  towards 


TJfE    GHOST-SEER.  95 

the  Marquis  as  if  he  had  done  him  the  greatest  honour,,  and 
thus  he  plays  his  part  very  well.  Civitella  sought  to  console  me, 
by  saying,  that  he  thought  his  extraordinary  ill  luck  would 
powerfully  assist  in  bringing  the  Prince  back  again  to  reason. 
As  for  the  money,  he  was  not  anxious  about  it.  He  himself 
did  riot  miss  it — three  times  as  much  was  at  the  Prince's 
service.  The  Cardinal  also  assured  me.,  that  the  sentiments 
of  his  nephew  were  sincere,  and  that  he  was  always  ready 
to  support  him  in  them.  The  worst  was.,  that  these  extra- 
ordinary sacrifices  did  not  at  all  affect  him.  One  would 
think  the  Prince  at  least  had  played  with  some  intent :  but 
it  was  not  so.  The  passion  which  we  endeavoured  to  destroy 
seemed  only  to  increase  with  ill  luck :  when  a  great  sum 
was  staked,  all  pressed  around  his  chair  with  expectation, 
but  his  eyes  were  watching  for  Biondello,  to  steal  from  his 
looks  the  news  which  he  might  have  for  him.  Biondello 
always  returned  unsuccessful,  and  he  as  continually  lost.  The 
money  at  last  fell  into  very  distressed  hands.  Some  poor 
noblemen,  who  report  says  are  supported  by  the  alms  they 
obtain  in  the  market-place,  came  into  the  house  perfect  beg- 
gars, and  left  it  as  rich  as  Jews.  Civitella  pointed  them 
out  to  me. 

"  Behold,"  said  he,  "  how  many  poor  devils  this  money 
is  of  service  to  ;  how  comes  it  then  that  men  of  wit  do  not 
direct  their  attention  to  such  practices  ?  This  circumstance 
pleases  me  :  it  is  princely.  A  great  man  may  sometimes, 
by  his  errors,  make  people  happy,  and  like  a  bounteous 
stream  enrich  the  neighbouring  fields  by  overflowing  its 
banks."  Civitella' s  ideas  are  noble — but  the  Prince  owes 
him  24,000  zechins. 

At  last  the  long  expected  Sunday  evening  arrived,  and 
my  master  could  not  be  prevented  from  ..walking  in  the 
afternoon  in  the  *  *  *  church.  His  stand  was  taken  exactly 
upon  the  same  spot  in  -the  chapel  where  he  had  seen  for  the 
first  time  the  unknown  that  had  captivated  him,  yet  so  that 
he  could  not  immediately  be  seen  by  her.  Biondello  was 
ordered  to  keep  watch  near  the  church  gate,  and  to  form  a 
connection  with  the  attendants  of  the  lady.  I  had  deter- 
mined to  step,  as  by  accident,  into  the  boat  at  its  return, 
to  trace  the  unknown  farther,  if  the  first  scheme  should  not 


96  THE    GHOST-SEER. 

succeed.  At  the  place  where,  upon  the  report  of  the 
watermen,,  she  landed,  we  hired  two  chairs,  and  the  Prince 

commanded  the  chamberlain  Z to  follow  in  a  separate 

boat,  and  he  himself  would  meet  her  in  the  church,  and  try 
his  fortune  there  first.  Civitella  did  not  assist  us,  because 
he  had  already  acquired  a  bad  character  with  the  females  at 
Venice,  and  therefore  he  determined  not  to  make  the  lady 
mistrust  his  friend  by  his  presence.  You  see,  my  dear 
Count,  that  it  could  not  be  for  want  of  plans,  if  the  beau- 
tiful unknown  escaped  us.  Never  was  there  offered  up  in 
a  church  more  sanguine  prayers  for  success,  nor  greater 
hopes  created,  and  never  was  man  deceived  more  cruelly. 
The  Prince  waited  till  sunset.  He  trembled  at  every  noise 
that  approached  the  chapel :  the  creaking  of  every  church- 
door  increased  his  anxiety.  Seven  long  hours  passed,  and 
no  Greek  lady  arrived.  I  say  nothing  of  the  state  of  his 
mind.  You  know  well  what  it  is  to  be  disappointed  in  the 
attainment  of  an  object  for  which  one  has  sighed  seven  days 
and  nights. 

The  same  to  the  same. 

August. 

No,  my  dear  friend,  you  wrong  the  good  Biondello.  In- 
deed you  entertain  a  false  suspicion  of  him.  I  give  up  to 
your  prejudices  ah1  Italians ;  but  this  man  is  honest.  You 
think  it  singular  that  a  man  of  such  brilliant  talents,  and 
conduct  without  example,  should  hire  himself  as  a  servant, 
if  he  had  no  secret  ends  to  answer ;  and  from  that  you 
draw  the  conclusion  that  he  is  a  suspicious  character.  How  ! 
Is  it  then  so  extraordinary  that  a  man  of  talents  should 
make  himself  respected  by  a  prince,  in  whose  power  it  is 
to  advance  his  fortune  ?  Is  it  dishonourable  to  serve  him  ? 
Does  not  Biondello  clearly  show  that  his  attachment  to  the 
Prince  is  personal?  He  has  already  confessed  to  him  that 
he  has  a  particular  favour  to  ask  of  him,  and  which,  when 
known,  will  undoubtedly  unravel  all  the  secret.  He  per- 
haps has  entered  into  his  service  with  some  particular  view; 
but  may  it  not  be  innocent  ?  It  appears  strange  to  you 
that  this  Biondello,  when  you  were  present,  did  not  display 
the  great  talents  which  he  now  seems  to  be  possessed  of. 
That  is  true ;  but  he  had  not  then  an  opportunity  to  dis- 


THE    GHOST-SEER.  97 

tinguish  himself  ?  The  Prince  did  not  at  that  time  want 
him,  and  his  other  qualities  were  discovered  in  him  by 
accident.  But  we  experienced  not  long  ago  a  proof  of  his 
sincerity,  which  will  remove  all  your  doubts.  The  Prince 
of  late  has  been  very  particularly  noticed.  Endeavours  are 
made  to  obtain  a  secret  knowledge  of  his  manner  of  life, 
and  of  his  acquaintance.  I  know  not  for  what  reason 
those  enquiries  are  made ;  but  attend  to  what  I  shall  com- 
municate. 

There  is  at  St.  George  a  public-house,  to  which  Biondello 
often  resorts.  He  may  have  some  love-intrigue  there  for 
aught  I  know.  He  was  there  for  several  days  in  the  com- 
pany of  advocates,  men  in  office  under  the  government, 
merry  brothers  and  old  acquaintances.  They  were  equally 
astonished  and  rejoiced  to  behold  him  again.  The  former 
friendship  was  renewed,  and  every  one  related  his  adven- 
tures since  their  separation.  Biondello  also  told  his.  He 
did  it  in  a  few  words.  They  wished  him  joy  of  his  new 
situation  :  they  had  heard  of  the  splendid  manner  in  which 
the  Prince  lived ;  of  his  liberality  in  particular  towards  his 
people  that  knew  how  to  keep  a  secret ;  his  acquaintance 

with  the  Cardinal  A was  also  well  known  ;  and  his 

partiality  for  gaming,  &c.  &c.  Biondello  started.  They 
told  him,  that  he  played  his  part  very  well,  but  they  said  they 
knew  that  he  was  the  secret  messenger  of  the  Prince.  The 
advocates  sat  on  each  side  of  him,  and  the  bottle  was 
speedily  emptied.  They  persuaded  him  to  drink  more : 
he  excused  himself,  and  said  that  his  head  would  not  bear 
much  wine;  he  therefore  affected  to  be  intoxicated.  ff  Yes," 
said  one  of  the  advocates  at  last,  "  Biondello  may  under- 
stand his  business ;  but  he  has  not  yet  finished  his  lesson 
—he  is  but  half  a  scholar."  fl  What  is  wanting  ? "  said 
Biondello.  "  He  understands  one  art,"  said  the  man  ; 
"  that  is,  to  keep  a  secret ;  but  he  is  not  acquainted  with 
the  other,  which  is,  to  get  rid  of  it  again  with  profit/' 
"  Am  I  likely  to  find  a  purchaser  for  it  ?  "  asked  Biondello. 

The  other  part  of  the  company  left  the  room,  and  he 
remained  alone  with  his  two  friends,  who  now  came  to  the 
point.  To  make  it  short,  he  was  to  give  them  the  means 
by  which  the  Prince  became  acquainted  with  the  Cardinal 

VOL.  I.  G 


98  THE    GHOST-SEES, 

and  his  nephew,,  to  discover  to  them  the  sources  by  which 
the  Prince  received,  and  the  way  he  exhausted  his  money, 
and  to  deliver  into  their  hands  the  letters  which  were  written 

to  the  Count  O .     Biondello  appointed  to  meet  them, 

and  discuss  it  another  time :  who  it  was  that  induced  them 
to  do  this  he  could  not  get  from  them,  but  concluded,  from 
the  great  offers  which  were  made  to  him,  that  it  must  be 
some  wealthy  person  who  commissioned  them  to  entice  him 
to  this  confession.  Last  night  he  discovered  to  my  master 
the  whole  of  this  affair.  He  was  anxious  to  imprison  the 
advocates;  but  Biondello  remonstrated,  and  said,  if  they 
were  ever  to  be  at  liberty  again,  he  should  lose  all  his  credit 
with  that  class  of  people,  and  perhaps  his  life.  These  sort 
of  people  all  hang  together,  and  stand  up  for  each  other. 
He  would  sooner,  he  said,  have  the  high  council  at  Venice 
for  his  enemy  than  be  looked  upon  by  them  as  a  betrayer  ; 
and  he  could  not  be  so  useful  to  the  Prince,  if  he  lost  the 
confidence  of  these  people.  We  tried  to  conjecture  with 
whom  this  curiosity  might  originate.  Who  is  there  at 
Venice  that  can  be  interested  in  knowing  what  my  master 
receives  and  spends ;  what  concerns  he  has  with  the  Car- 
dinal A ,  and  what  I  write  to  you  ?  Is  this  a  scheme 

of  the  Prince  — d ?    or  is  the  Armenian  with  us 

again  ? 

The  same  to  the  same. 

August. 

The  Prince  abounds  in  happiness  and  love.  He  has 
found  the  Greek  lady.  Hear  how  this  happened.  A  stranger 
who  had  travelled  over  Chiozza,  and  gave  an  enchanting  de- 
scription of  that  beautiful  city,  which  is  situated  near  the  Gulf, 
made  the  Prince  desirous  to  see  it.  Yesterday  his  wishes 
were  put  in  execution ;  and  to  avoid  all  unnecessary  expense, 
no  other  person  attended  him  but  Z— ,  Biondello,  and  my- 
self, as  he  travelled  incognito.  We  took  places  in  a  boat  that 
usually  sailed  to  that  place  with  company.  The  society  was 
not  very  select,  and  the  voyage  far  from  being  agreeable. 
Chiozza  is  built  upon  piles,  like  Venice,  and  has  about 
forty  thousand  inhabitants.  You  meet  there  very  few  peo- 
ple of  distinction ;  the  streets  are  crowded  with  fishermen 


THE    GHOST-SEER.  99 

and  sailors.  He  who  wears  a  wig  and  a  mantle  is  called  a 
rich  man  ;  lappels  and  veils  are  the  sign  of  poverty.  The 
city  itself  is  handsome.,  but  to  admire  it,  you  must  not  have 
seen  Venice. 

The  waterman,  who  had  more  passengers  to  carry,  was 
obliged  to  be  quick  in  his  return  to  Venice,  and  nothing  at 
Chiozza  particularly  attracted  the  notice  of  the  Prince. 
The  vessel  was  full  when  we  arrived.  As  the  company  was 
rather  troublesome  on  our  passage  thither,  we  hired  a  separate 
room  for  our  better  accommodation.  The  Prince  enquired, 
who  were  the  other  passengers  ?  A  Dominican,  was  the 
answer,  and  several  ladies.  My  master  was  not  at  all  curious 
to  see  them,  and  immediately  went  to  his  room.  The  Greek 
lady  was  the  sole  object  of  our  discourse  on  our  passage, 
and  it  was  the  same  on  our  return.  The  Prince  repeated 
his  adventure  in  the  church  in  the  highest  transports  of 
delight;  the  time  was  passed  in  forming  plans,  and  then 
rejecting  them;  till,  before  we  were  aware  of  it,  Venice 
was  in  sight.  Some  of  the  passengers  left  the  vessel,  the 
Dominican  was  amongst  them.  The  waterman  went  to  the 
ladies,  who,  as  we  now  learned,  had  been  only  separated 
from  us  by  a  thin  partition.  He  asked  them,  where  he 
should  land  them.  "  Upon  the  island  of  Murano,"  was 
the  answer. — "  The  island  of  Murano!"  cried  the  Prince, 
as  the  sudden  transport  of  joy  shot  through  his  soul.  Be- 
fore I  could  make  him  any  answer,  Biondello  rushed  in. 

"  Do  you  know  with  whom  we  have  travelled  ? "  — 
The  Prince  started  up  —  "  Is  she  here  ?"  "  Yes,  she  is," 
rontinued  Biondello.  "  I  am  just  come  from  her  conduc- 
tor." The  Prince  rushed  out  of  the  room.  A  thousand 
sensations  overpowered  his  mind,  He  was  seized  with  a 
Hidden  trembling  :  a  deathlike  paleness  spread  itself  over 
his  countenance.  I  burned  with  expectation.  It  is  impos- 
sible for  me  to  describe  to  you  our  situation. 

The  boat  stopped  at  Murano.  The  Prince  jumped  upon 
the  shore.  She  came.  I  perceived,  from  the  Prince's 
countenance,  that  it  was  she.  Her  appearance  did  not 
leave  any  doubt  of  the  fact.  A  more  beautiful  figure  I 
never  saw  :  the  flattering  descriptions  the  Prince  had  given 
of  her,  were  fully  realised.  A  blush  of  satisfaction  was 
G  2 


100  THE    GHOST-SEER. 

spread  over  her  face,  when  she  beheld  the  Prince.  She 
must  have  overheard  our  whole  conversation,  and  could  not 
doubt  that  she  had  been  the  subject  of  it.  She  gave  her 
attendant  a  significant  look,  which  seemed  to  say,  te  This 
is  he  !"  and  with  an  artless  embarrassment  she  cast  her  eyes 
upon  the  ground.  A  small  board  was  placed  from  the  shore 
to  the  ship,  on  which  she  had  to  walk.  She  seemed  anxious 
to  land ;  but  although  she  affected  timidity,  it  appeared  to 
arise  more  from  a  desire  to  be  assisted,  than  from  the  danger 
of  crossing  the  plank.  The  Prince  stretched  out  his  arm  to 
assist  her.  Necessity  overcame  etiquette.  She  accepted 
his  hand,  and  leaped  upon  the  shore.  The  sudden  agita- 
tion of  the  Prince  made  him  uncivil ;  for  he  forgot  the 
other  lady,  who  waited  for  the  same  act  of  politeness  — 
And  what  would  he  not  have  forgotten  in  that  moment  ?  I 
at  last  rendered  her  that  service,  and  deprived  myself  of  the 
pleasure  of  observing  how  the  interview,  which  took  place 
between  my  master  and  the  lady,  affected  her.  He  still 
held  her  hand  in  his ;  and,  I  believe,  without  knowing  that 
he  did  so. 

"  It  is  not  the  first  time,  Signora,  that  —  that — "  He 
hesitated.  "  I  ought  to  remember,"  she  lisped.  "  In  the 
church,"  said  he.  "  Yes,"  said  she,  "  it  was  there/' 
"  And  could  I  flatter  myself  to-day  —  so  near."  Here  she 
drew  her  hand  softly  out  of  his.  He  recovered  himself 
immediately.  Biondello,  who  in  the  mean  time  had  spoken 
with  the  servant,  came  to  his  assistance.  "  Signora,"  he 
began,  "  the  ladies  ordered  their  chairs  to  be  waiting  for 
them  at  a  certain  time,  but  we  have  arrived  here  sooner  than 
was  expected.  Here  is  a  garden  in  the  vicinity,  where  you 
may  retire  to  avoid  the  tumult."  The  proposal  was  ac- 
cepted, and  you  may  judge  with  what  delight  the  Prince 
accompanied  her.  They  remained  in  the  garden  till  late  in 
the  evening.  It  fell  to  my  lot,  assisted  by  Z ,  to  enter- 
tain the  old  lady,  that  the  Prince  might  remain  undisturbed 
with  his  beloved.  He  made  good  use  of  his  time,  for  he 
obtained  permission  to  pay  her  a  visit.  He  is  now  there. 
As  soon  as  he  returns,  I  shall  know  more  of  the  matter. 

Yesterday,  when  we  came  home,  we  found  the  expected 
remittances  from  our  court,  but  accompanied  by  a  letter, 


THE    GHOST-SEER.  101 

which  affected  my  master  very  much.  He  is  recalled  by  it, 
and  in  a  tone  which  he  has  not  been  accustomed  to.  He  has 
answered  it  contemptuously,  and  intends  to  prolong  his  stay 
here.  The  remittances  are  just  sufficient  to  pay  the  inter- 
est of  the  capital  which  he  owes.  We  look  for  an  answer 
from  his  sister  with  great  anxiety. 

The  same  to  the  same. 

September. 

The  Prince  has  had  a  quarrel  with  his  court :  all  our  re- 
sources from  thence  are  cut  off.  The  six  weeks,  which  were 
limited  for  my  master  to  have  paid  the  debt  due  to  the  Mar- 
quis, are  elapsed;  we  have  received  no  remittances  from  his 
cousin,  whom  he  earnestly  solicited  to  assist  him ;  neither 
have  we  had  any  from  his  sister.  You  may  easily  imagine 
that  Civitella  does  not  remind  him  of  his  engagement ;  but 
the  faithful  memory  of  the  Prince  continually  imposes  upon 
him  the  idea,  that  he  is  still  the  Marquis's  debtor.  Yes- 
terday came  letters  from  the  reigning  Count.  We  had  just 
concluded  a  new  contract  with  the  master  of  our  hotel ;  and 
the  Prince  had  openly  declared,  that  he  intended  to  protract 
his  stay  in  Venice.  Without  speaking  a  word,  he  gave  me 
the  letter.  His  eyes  darted  fire :  to  me  his  countenance 
was  a  sufficient  indication  of  the  contents.  Should  you 

imagine,  dear  O ,  that  they  are  at  *  *  *  informed  of  all 

my  master's  connections  ;  and  that  calumny  has  been  very 
busy  in  inventing  falsehoods  to  defame  him  ? 

They  had  heard  with  displeasure,  it  is  said  in  the  letter, 
that  the  Prince  had  not  supported  his  former  character,  but 
had  pursued  a  conduct  which  was  in  total  contradiction  to 
his  former  praiseworthy  manner  of  thinking.  They  af- 
firmed that  he  rioted  with  women,  and  was  addicted  to 
gaming  in  an  extravagant  manner ;  that  he  was  involved 
in  debt ;  that  he  studied  physiognomy,  and  sought  after 
conjurors  ;  that  he  held  suspicious  correspondence  with  pre- 
lates, and  that  he  possessed  a  household  which  was  more 
than  his  income  could  support.  They  had  even  been 
assured  that  it  was  his  intention  to  complete  his  bad  conduct 
by  turning  an  apostate,  and  embracing  the  Roman  catholic 
religion;  and,  to  exculpate  himself  from  the  last  serious 
G  3 


102  THE    GHOST-SEER. 

accusation,  they  expected  he  would  immediately  return.  A 
banker  at  Venice,  to  whom  he  was  directed  to  deliver  in  the 
amount  of  his  debts,  was  authorised,  immediately  after  his 
departure,  to  satisfy  his  creditors ;  for,  under  circum- 
stances so  unpleasant,  they  did  not  think  it  safe  to  trust  the 
money  in  his  own  hands.  What  accusations  !  and  in  what 
an  artful  manner  alleged  !  I  took  the  letter,  and  read  it 
over  a  second  time — I -endeavoured  to  palliate  the  offence, 
but  I  did  not  succeed. 

Z now  reminded  me  of  the  secret  enquiries  which  had 

been  made  by  the  advocates.  The  time,  the  contents,  all 
circumstances  agreed.  We  had  falsely  attributed  them  to  the 
Armenian.  Now  it  was  clear  from  whom  they  were  derived; 
Apostasy  !  —  But  whose  interest  can  it  be  to  calumniate  my 
master  in  such  an  execrable  manner  ?  I  fear  it  is  a  piece 
of  mischief  invented  by  the  Prince  — d — ,  who  will  follow 
it  up,  to  get  my  master  from  Venice.  He  remained  silent, 
with  his  eyes  fixed  upon  the  ground.  His  countenanc* 
made  me  tremble.  I  threw  myself  at  his  feet.  "  For 
Heaven's  sake,  gracious  Prince,"  I  exclaimed,  ec  do  not 
think  of  it  so  seriously.  You  shall,  you  will,  have  the 
greatest  satisfaction.  Leave  the  business  to  me.  Send  me 
there,  for  it  is  beneath  your  dignity  to  go  personally  to  jus- 
tify yourself  against  such  vile  calumnies  :  permit  me  to  do 
it.  The  calumniator  must,  he  shah1,  be  named,  and  the 
eyes  of  the  *  *  *  must  be  opened. 

In  this  situation  Civitella  found  us :  he  asked,  with 

astonishment,  the  reason  of  our  embarrassment.  Z and 

I  were  silent.  The  Prince,  who  never  made  any  distinc- 
tion between  him  and  us,  was  now  too  much  agitated  in  his 
mind  to  act  prudently  on  this  occasion,  and  commanded  us 
to  communicate  to  him  the  contents  of  the  letter.  I  hesi* 
tated,  but  the  Prince  snatched  it  from  my  hands,  and  gave 
it  to  the  Marquis  himself.  I  am  your  debtor,  Marquis," 
he  began,  after  he  had  finished  the  letter,  "  but  let  that 
give  you  no  uneasiness.  "  Allow  me  but  a  respite  of 
twenty  days,  and  you  shall  be  paid."  "  Gracious  Prince!" 
exclaimed  Civitella,  with  feeling  and  surprise,  "  do  I  de- 
serve this  ? "  ' '  You  did  not  choose  to  remind  me  of  my 
engagement.  I  know  your  delicacy  in  this  matter,  and 


THE    GHOST-SEER.  103 

thank  you  for  your  liberality.  In  twenty  days,  as  I  said 
before,  you  sball  be  paid."  "  What  is  the  meaning  of  all 
this  ?  "  said  Civitella  with  anxiety.  "  Explain  to  me  this 
mystery.  I  cannot  comprehend  it." 

We  gave  him  all  the  information  in  our  power.  He 
fell  into  a  rage.  The  Prince,  he  said,  must  insist  upon 
satisfaction :  the  offence  is  infamous.  In  the  mean  time,, 
he  conjured  the  Prince  to  make  use  of  his  property  and 
credit  as  if  they  were  his  own.  The  Marquis  left  us,  and 
the  Prince  still  continued  silent.  He  walked  with  hasty 
steps  up  and  down  the  room  :  something  of  an  extra- 
ordinary nature  seemed  to  oppress  his  senses.  At  last  he 
stood  still,  and  murmured  incoherently  —  "  Wish  yourself 
happiness  —  at  nine  o'clock  he  died." 

i  We  looked  at  him  with  horror.  "  Wish  yourself  hap- 
piness," he  continued.  "  Happiness  —  Did  he  not  say  so? 
What  was  it  that  he  meant  by  these  words  ?  "  i(  Why  do 
you  now  repeat  that  foolish  admonition  ? "  I  exclaimed, 
"  What  has  this  to  do  with  it  ?  "  "I  could  not  then  un- 
derstand what  the  Armenian  meant  by  that  expression. 
Now  I  comprehend  him.  Oh,  it  is  intolerably  hard  to 
have  a  master  over  one  ! "  "  My  dearest  Prince  ! "  "  Who 
can  make  me  experience  it ! — Ah  !  it  must  be  exquisite  !" 

He  stopped  again.  There  was  in  his  countenance  a 
wildness  resembling  insanity.  I  never  before  had  seen  him 
so  much  agitated.  "  The  most  miserable  among  the 
people,"  he  continued,  "  or  the  next  Prince  to  the  throne  ! 
are  the  same.  There  is  but  one  distinction  among  men  — 
to  obey  or  to  govern."  He  once  more  looked  into  the 
letter.  "  You  have  seen  the  man,"  he  continued,  f(  who 
has  ventured  to  write  thus  to  me.  Would  you  salute  him 
in  the  street  if  fate  had  not  made  him  your  master  ?  By 
heavens  !  there  is  something  wonderfully  great  about  the 
wearer  of  a  crown  ! "  He  continued  speaking  in  this  un- 
intelligible manner  for  some  time,  and  many  of  his  words  I 
dare  not  commit  to  paper.  But  the  Prince  has  discovered 
to  me  a  circumstance,  which  involved  me  in  surprise  and 
anxiety,  and  which  may  probably  ere  long  lead  to  bad 
consequences.  We  were  ignorant  of  the  family  circum- 
stances at  the  court  of  *  *  *  until  now.  The  Prince 
G  4 


104?  THE    GHOST-SEER. 

answered  the  letter  upon  the  spot,  though  I  opposed  it 
with  violence,  and  the  manner  in  which  he  has  done  it 
will,  in  all  probability,  prevent  a  reconciliation. 

You  will  also  be  desirous,  dear  O to  hear  some- 
thing about  the  Greek  lady.  I  can  say  but  little  upon 
that  subject,  as  I  am  not  able  at  present  to  learn  any  thing 
satisfactory  concerning  her.  The  Prince  discloses  no- 
thing, because  he  is,  no  doubt,  bound  to  secrecy,  as  I 
presume,  by  his  word  of  honour.  But  she  is  not  the 
Greek  lady  that  we  supposed.  She  is  a  German  of  noble 
extraction.  It  is  reported  that  she  has  a  mother  of  rank, 
and  also  that  she  is  the  fruit  of  an  illicit  connection,  of 
which  much  was  said  in  Europe.  Clandestine  pursuits,  it 
is  said,  have  forced  her  to  seek  refuge  at  Venice ;  and  these 
also  are  the  reasons  why  she  avoids  society,  and  secretes 
herself  in  a  private  dwelling,  where  it  would  have  been 
impossible  for  the  Prince  to  have  discovered  her.  The 
veneration  with  which  the  Prince  speaks  of  her,  and  cer- 
tain traits  which  he  observes  in  her  conduct,  seem  to 
authorise  this  presumption.  He  is  passionately  fond  of 
her,  and  his  attachment  increases  every  day.  In  the  first 
outset  the  visits  were  not  repeated  very  often;  however, 
the  second  week  the  interval  was  shortened,  and  now  not  a 
day  passes  without  the  Prince's  being  there.  We  are  not 
able  to  see  him  sometimes  for  whole  evenings  together ; 
and  even,  if  he  is  not  in  her  society,  she  is  the  only  object 
that  occupies  his  attention.  His  nature  seems  to  be 
changed.  He  walks  about  like  a  madman:  he  is  in- 
attentive to  every  thing  that  formerly  interested  him. 

What  will  be  the  consequence,  dearest  friend,  I  cannot 
imagine.  The  quarrel  with  his  court  has  thrown  my 
master  into  the  degrading  situation  of  being  dependent 
upon  an  individual,  the  Marquis  Civitella.  He  is  at 
present  master  of  all  our  secrets,  and  perhaps  of  our  fate. 
Will  he  always  think  so  nobly  as  he  does  at  present? 
Will  this  good  understanding  be  of  long  duration  ?  and  is 
it  right  to  give  so  much  power  and  consequence  to  a  man, 
let  him  be  ever  so  excellent  a  character  ?  A  letter  has 
been  despatched  to  the  sister  of  the  Prince.  The  issue  of 
it  I  hope  to  communicate  to  you  in  my  next  letter. 


THE    GHOST-SEER.  105 

The  Count  O         ,  in  continuation. 

But  this  promised  letter  never  arrived.  Three  whole 
months  passed  over,,  before  I  obtained  any  farther  accounts 
from  Venice ;  an  interruption  which  is  explained  in  the  se- 
quel. All  the  letters  of  my  friend  to  me  had  been  sup- 
pressed. You  may  guess  the  situation  of  my  mind,  when, 
in  the  month  of  December,  I  obtained  the  following  writ- 
ing, which  mere  accident  (Biondello's  illness)  brought  to 
my  hands. 

"  You  do  not  write.  You  do  not  answer.  —  Come — 
Oh,  come  upon  the  wings  of  friendship.  Our  hope  is  gone. 
Read  this  with  resolution.  All  our  hope  is  gone.  The  Mar- 
quis's wound  is  mortal.  The  Cardinal  cries  for  revenge, 
and  his  assassins  seek  the  Prince's  life.  My  master  —  Oh, 
my  unhappy  master  !  Is  it  come  to  this  ?  Unworthy,  ter- 
rible fate !  We  must  fly  like  criminals  from  the  poniards 
of  murderers.  I  write  to  you  from  the  Convent  ***, 
where  the  Prince  has  taken  refuge.  He  is  lying  asleep  upon 
a  mattress  by  my  side.  Alas  !  it  is  the  slumber  of  exhausted 
nature,  which  will  soon  again  resign  him  to  the  horror  of 
new  sufferings.  During  the  ten  days  that  she  was  ill,  no 
sleep  closed  his  eyes.  I  was  present  at  the  dissection  of 
the  body.  They  discovered  traces  of  poison.  To-day  she 
will  be  buried. 

"  Alas,  dear  O ,  my  heart  is  almost  broken.  I  was 

witness  to  a  scene  that  never  will  be  rooted  from  my  me- 
mory. I  stood  by  her  dying  bed.  She  expired  with  divine 
resignation,  and  her  last  words  hailed  her  beloved  to  accom- 
pany her  to  the  throne  of  heaven.  All  our  resolution  for- 
sook us ;  the  Prince  alone  was  firm  and  collected ;  and 
though  he  must  have  suffered  almost  beyond  description, 
yet  he  had  fortitude  enough  to  refuse  the  pious  fanatic  her 
last  prayer." 

In  this  was  enclosed  the  following :  — 

To  the  Prince  ***,  from  his  Sister. 

"  The  religion  which  the  Prince  ***  has  embraced  will 
not  let  him  want  the  means  to  continue  his  present  mode  of 


106 


THE    GHOST-SEER. 


life,  which  is  to  be  attributed  to  that  alone.  I  have  tears 
and  prayers  for  an  unfortunate,  but  no  more  benefits  for  one 
unworthy  of  them. 

"  HENBIETTE." 

I  set  off  immediately;  and  travelling  night  and  day,  in 
the  third  week'  I  arrived  [at  Venice.  My  haste  was  of  no 
consequence.  I  went  to  comfort  an  unhappy  being  ;  but  I 
found  one  who  did  not  want  my  feeble  assistance.  F 
was  very  ill,  and  was  not  to  be  spoken  with,  when  I  ar- 
rived ;  they  gave  me,  however,  the  following  note  :  — 

(c  Return,  dear  O ,  to  where  you  came  from.     The 

Prince  does  not  want  your  assistance  nor  mine.  His  debts 
are  paid,  the  Cardinal  consoled,  and  the  Marquis  restored. 
Do  you  remember  the  Armenian  who  entrapped  us  last  year 
so  dexterously  ?  In  his  power  you  '11  find  the  Prince ;  who 
has  these  five  days  attended  mass." 

Notwithstanding  this,  I  waited  upon  the  Prince,  but  was 
refused  admittance.  On  the  bed  of  my  friend,  however.,  I 
heard  the  following  extraordinary  history.  After  taking  my 
lodgings,  not  far  from  the  Prince's  hotel,  I  was  obliged  to 
wait  a  long  time  before  I  could  speak  with  my  friend  F 
He  was  indisposed  with  a  fever,  and  the  physician  that  at- 
tended him  despaired  of  his  recovery.  My  situation  was 
afflicting  in  the  extreme ;  for  I  beheld  the  Prince,  as  it  were, 
upon  the  verge  of  a  most  terrible  abyss,  and  my  friend  F 
on  the  brink  of  the  grave.  Harassed  almost  to  death  with 
misfortunes,  I  resolved,  at  all  events,  to  speak  once  more 
with  the  prince ;  but  I  found,  after  several  ineffectual  at- 
tempts, that  it  was  in  vain ;  and  the  last  visit  I  made  I  was 
dismissed  with  the  following  intimation  :  — e '  That  the 
Prince  was  not  to  be  spoken  to  by  me,  and  that  it  was  alone 
owing  to  his  former  attachment  for  me  that  I  still  enjoyed 
my  liberty." 

Biondello,  who  told  me  this,  added  to  the  weight  of  his 
information,  by  his  serious  and  strongly  marked  countenance. 
I  was  not  able  to  make  him  any  answer,  but  felt  my  knees 
shake  under  me,  and  my  lips  quiver  in  a  convulsive  man- 
ner. I  went  immediately  to  my  lodgings,  and,  almost  insen- 
sible with  apprehension,  threw  myself  into  an  arm  chair. 


THE    GHOST-SEER.  107 

and  endeavoured  to  dispel  the  gloom  of  anticipation  that 
hung  over  me.  A  noise  brought  me  at  last  to  myself ;  I 
looked  up,  and  saw  the  physician  who  attended  F stand- 
ing before  me,  whom  I  had  not  heard  enter  the  room  during 
my  perplexity.  "  I  like  to  be  myself  the  messenger  of 
happy  news/'  said  he  to  me,  "  and  I  come  to  announce  to 
you,  that  your  friend  F finds  himself  so  much  reco- 
vered,, that  he  is  able  to  converse  without  difficulty,  and 
wishes  to  speak  to  you ;  the  cause  of  his  illness  seems  to  be 
entirely  removed,  but  you  must  expect  to  see  him  weak,  and 
rather  low."  I  did  not  suffer  him  to  proceed  in  his  speech, 
but  wrapped  myself  up  in  a  cloak,  and  hastened  to  congratu- 
late my  friend  upon  his  recovery,  with  as  much  satisfaction 
as  if  the  welfare  of  millions  had  depended  upon  my  walk. 

"  Oh  !  how  much  have  I  sighed  after  you,  my  dear 

O ,"  said  he,  with  a  feeble  voice,  as  he  pressed  my  hand 

to  his  breast ;  ( '  but  the  physician  conjured  me,  until  now, 
to  avoid  all  sensations."  I  looked  at  him.  He  was  lying 
beiore  me  the  picture  of  death.  A  tear  started  from  my 
eye ;  I  could  not  suppress  it :  he  observed  it.  "  I  thank 
you,  my  friend,  for  this  sincere  proof  of  affection  ;  it  con- 
vinces me  that  my  loss  will  not  be  indifferent  to  you." 
t(  Speak  not  of  your  death,"  said  I,  with  concern,  "  the 
physician  assures  me  he  has  removed  your  complaint,  and 
that  in  a  little  time  you  will  be  well  again."  "  Ay,"  he 
replied,  with  a  deep  sigh,  "  he  has  repeatedly  said  so,  but 
I  think  the  contrary.  My  internal  feelings  prove  to  me 
that  I  cannot  exist  long  in  this  world." 

He  sank  back  on  his  pillow.  A  cold  sweat  stood  upon 
his  forehead.  His  speech  became  fainter  by  degrees  ;  but 
I  collected  sufficient  to  understand,  that  he  suspected  some 
one  had  poisoned  him,  for  that  he  and  myself  had  been  sus- 
pected for  some  time  of  having  maliciously  and  secretly 
calumniated  the  Prince  at  court.  This  accounted  for  the 
cold  and  unfriendly  treatment  I  had  lately  received  from 
the  Prince ;  and  the  very  thought  of  being  subject  to  so 
powerful  an  enemy  threw  me  into  a  state  of  melancholy.  I 
looked  back  upon  my  conduct,  and  tried  to  recollect  any 
circumstance  that  might  throw  some  light  upon  the  matter, 
but  in  vain.  In  the  midst  of  these  reflections  F— — 


108  THE    GHOST-SEER. 

awaked,  which  aroused  me  from  my  lethargy.  His  first 
word  was  to  entreat  me  to  be  secret  as  to  what  he  had  dis- 
covered respecting  himself,  and  persuaded  me,  fearful  that 
a  similar  lot  would  hefall  me,  to  absent  myself  immediately 
after  his  death  from  Venice.  He  added,  with  a  smile, 
ff  See  me  laid  in  my  grave  first,  for  I  wish  very  much  to 
receive  that  last  service  from  the  hand  of  a  friend  whom  I 
affectionately  love."  I  embraced  him,  and  bedewed  his 
death-pale  cheek  with  tears.  "  I  forgive  those,"  he  said, 
ff  who  are  the  cause  of  my  death ;  it  will  not  be  painful  to 
me ;  and  as  you  have  not  deprived  me  of  your  presence  in 
my  last  hours,  I  owe  you  the  greatest  thanks." 

A  long  pause  ensued; — after  that,  F related  to 

me  as  follows.  I  have  collected  into  a  narrative  the  sen- 
tences which  he  spoke  at  intervals,  and  added  what  I  ex- 
torted from  him  by  questions ;  for  his  feebleness  did  not 
permit  him  to  speak  in  a  continued  series.  I  also  was 
often  obliged  to  assist  him,  on  account  of  the  defect  of 
his  memory,  as  far  as  it  could  be  done  by  questions.  I 
must  be  permitted  to  introduce  him  speaking  here,  because, 
of  all  that  I  communicate,  nothing  is  done  by  me  but  the 
chronological  arrangement.  I  have,  indeed,  given  myself 
the  trouble  to  use  his  own  language,  which  I  am  enabled  to 
do,  as  I  had  my  pocket-book  always  in  my  hand,  and 
carefully  noted  down  every  thing  which  I  thought  would 
slip  from  my  memory. 

"  I  begin,"  said  F ,  "  my  story  from  that  period 

when  my  letters  to  you  were  intercepted.  By  the  last  of 
them  *  you  know,  that  the  Prince  had  fallen  out  with  his 
court,  and  had  nothing  more  to  expect  from  thence.  His 
sister  did  not  write  to  him,  and  left  us  for  the  space  of  two 
months  in  an  anxious  state  of  uncertainty,  when  the  letter, 
which  I  enclosed  for  you  last,  arrived.  It  threw  the  Prince 
into  the  most  horrid  state  of  distress.  His  debt  to  Civitella 
was  very  much  increased,  and  his  expenses  were  not  in  the 
least  diminished;  and  we  found  there  was  not  any  proba- 
bility of  maintaining  the  system  much  longer. — I  must 
confess  to  you,  that  at  that  period  I  seldom  enjoyed  a  happy 
hour.  In  the  most  splendid  entertainments  I  was  solitary, 

*  That  from  the  month  of  September.    See  the  foregoing. 


THE    GHOST-SEER.  109 

and  sunk  in  deep  reflection.     Z contented  himself  as 

well  as  he  could.  If  he  was  not  obliged  to  be  at  home, 
from  necessity,  he  seldom  stayed  with  me;  and  if  at  any 
time  I  mentioned  the  subject  of  our  distress  to  him,  he 
never  listened  to  me,  but  answered,  that  he  did  not  choose 
to  interfere  in  his  master's  concerns.  I  had  no  friend 
left ;  and  from  you  I  received  no  answers  to  my  letters. 
The  Prince  was  seldom  to  be  seen,  being  in  general  Oc- 
cupied with  Biondello,  upon  the  management  of  his  in- 
trigues. He  must  have  had  no  other  thought  than  that  of 
visiting  the  Greek  lady,  for  he  had  already  promised  four 
times  to  the  Marquis  to  pay  him ;  but  instead  of  that,  he 
borrowed  fresh  sums.  You  know  formerly  with  what 
strict  punctuality  he  performed  a  promise ;  but  at  that 
period  he  was  completely  inattentive  to  it. 

"  It  was  as  if  every  thing  existed  only  for  him,  and 
that  he  had  the  sole  right  to  command  it.  The  Marquis 
still  continued  the  generous,  uninterested  friend  of  the 
Prince,  who  studied  his  wishes,  before  they  came  to  ma- 
turity, and  sought,  with  unremitting  zeal,  to  satisfy  him  in 
every  particular.  In  his  hands,  I  may  say,  our  fate  rested  ; 
arid  yet  he  knew  how  to  give  his  conduct  such  a  colour, 
that  an  indifferent  person  would  have  thought  his  existence 
depended  upon  a  single  look  from  the  Prince.  Thus  stood 
the  affair,  when  the  Prince  one  evening  came  home  very 
late  from  the  Bucentauro.  He  brought  a  book  with  him, 
the  contents  of  which  he  was  so  anxious  to  be  acquainted 
with,  that,  during  the  time  he  was  undressing,  he  desired 
me  to  read  it  out  aloud  to  him ;  for  Biondello,  on  whom  this 
honour  was  usually  conferred,  under  the  pretext  of  indis- 
position, which  he  had  complained  of  for  fourteen  nights, 
had  been  dismissed  to  go  to  bed.  At  last  the  Prince  retired 
to  rest,  and  being  unable  to  repose  until  the  book  was 
finished,  I  was  obliged  to  sit  upon  the  side  of  his  bed  and 
continue  my  task.  He  listened  very  attentively,  as  he  sup- 
ported his  head  upon  his  right  arm.  The  clock  in  the 
steeple  of  St.  Mark's  church  struck  one.*  At  that  instant 

*  The  Count  O has  probably  given  here  the  hour  in  which  this  hap. 

pened,  according  to  our  reckoning  of  time;  in  Venice,  and  other  provinces 
of  Italy,  they  begin  to  count  the  hours  from  one,  at  ,the  beginning  of  the 
night. 


110  THE    GHOST-SEER. 

both  the  candles  which  stood  before  me  upon  the  table 
were  extinguished.  We  heard  thunder,  which  in  a  few 
minutes  became  so  violent,  that  the  house  seemed  to  shake 
under  us ;  quick  flashes  of  lightning  illuminated  our  room, 
and  immediately  all  the  windows  and  doors  burst  open. 

(C '  Beware,  Prince .'  that  thou  dost  not  stain  thy  hand 
with  blood,'  cried  a  hollow  frightful  voice  —  Again  it  thun- 
dered and  lightened,  after  which  a  solemn  stillness  reigned 
for  some  time. 

"  f  Is  this  a  dream?' — cried  the  Prince,  after  a  pause. 
I  did  not  make  any  answer,  and  was  in  doubt  whether  I 
should  quit  the  room  or  not.  In  the  mean  time  Bion- 
dello  rushed  in.  (  For  God's  sake,  what  is  the  matter  ?'  he 
exclaimed  with  trepidation;  but,  without  waiting  for  an 
answer,  he  took  the  wax  candles  from  the  table,  and  brought 
them  back  lighted.  He  was  half  dressed,  and  appeared  so 
dreadfully  frightened,  that  I  became  very  much  alarmed 
for  him.  Observing  that  the  Prince  had  not  received  any 
injury,  he  seemed  in  some  measure  comforted.  The  Prince 
asked  him  if  he  had  heard  any  thing  ?  He  answered  in 
the  affirmative,  and  his  relation  accorded  exactly  with  what 
we  had  heard ;  however,  he  did  not  see  any  lightning.  He 
was  not  asleep,  and  for  that  reason  his  evidence  effectually 
proved,  that  our  imaginations  had  not  deceived  us.  Bion- 
dello  received  orders  to  go  to  bed  again,  and  the  Prince 
commanded  him  to  observe  the  strictest  silence  as  to  what 
he  had  heard  and  seen.  '  What  do  you  think  of  this  ? ' 
said  the  Prince,  as  soon  as  he  was  gone.  ( I  must  own  to 
you,  gracious  Prince,'  said  I,  '  that  this  event  has  almost  de- 
prived me  of  my  senses.'  '  Confess,  that  you  will  not  willingly 
believe  it  to  be  a  miracle,  because  you  know  that  I  hold  them 
in  contempt.'  '  And  yet  I  know  not  how  to  explain  it  in  a 
natural  way.'  '  We  have  read  strange  things  in  the  book  ; 
how,  if  our  fancy  should  have  played  us  a  trick  ?'  '  But 
that  we  both  heard  one  and  the  same  thing,  that  the  can- 
dles in  the  mean  time  were  extinguished  at  the  same  mo- 
ment, and  doors  and  windows  burst  open,  is  certain  ;  and 
Biondello  has  heard  the  same  ?  ' 

"  '  That  might,  perhaps,  be  explained.  The  windows 
burst  open  because  they  were  not  fastened ;  the  door  from 


THE    GHOST-SEER.  Ill 

the  same  cause;  the  pressure  of  the  air  became  then 
stronger,  and  the  thorough  draft  put  out  the  candles/ 
'  But  the  words  we  heard — the  lightning — the  thunder  ? ' 
(  I  ascribe  them  to  imagination/  '  But  could  imagination 
work  upon  three  different  persons  exactly  at  the  same  time, 
and  in  the  same  manner  ? '  c  Jf  all  our  ideas  turn  to  the 
same  point,  why  not  ?  —  Have  you  never  heard,  that  whole 
societies  have  been  deceived  in  the  same  manner  ?  To  what 
cause  else  can  we  ascribe  the  existence  of  so  many  fanatics  ?  ' 
'  I  allow  this ;  but  Biondello's  ideas  could  not  surely  be 
similar  to  ours,  and  yet — '  '  It  is  possible.  Have  you 
not  heard  that  he  was  lying  awake  in  his  bed,  and  in  all 
probability  listened  to  every  thing  that  was  said.  Only  a 
thin  wainscot  separates  his  room  from  mine,  and  you, 
besides,  read  with  a  very  loud  voice  ? ' 

"  I  became  silent,  not  because  I  was  convinced,  but  because 
I  did  not  like  to  contradict  him;  for  his  countenance  proved 
to  me  that  he  was  angry  at  my  disputing  the  question  with 
him.  He  seemed  satisfied,  but  the  recollection  of  what  had 
passed  banished  sleep  from  my  eyes.  The  following  day 
was  destined  for  a  grand  feast,  which  was  given  in  honour 
of  the  Prince  of  St.  Benedetto.  All  that  Venetian  splendour 
and  pleasure  could  inventwas  united  here.  It  was  to  conclude 
with  a  very  brilliant  masquerade  ball.  A  valet-de-chambre, 
whom  the  Prince  a  short  time  ago  took  into  his  service,  be- 
cause he  saved  his  life,  remained  alone  at  home;  whilst  my- 
self and  the  Prince's  whole  household,  Biondello  not  excepted, 
who  forgot  his  complaints  to  join  the  party,  went  to  the 
entertainment.  The  Prince  was  pleased  with  his  attention 
so  much  the  more,  because,  in  spite  of  his  indisposition, 
he  insisted  upon  going  in  such  a  manner  that  the  greatest 
love  for  his  Prince  could  only  have  induced  him.  In  the 
mask  of  a  Bramin  he  followed  him  every  where,  at  a  little 
distance,  like  his  shadow.  I  did  not  suffer  him  to  go  out 
of  my  sight,  because  I  expected  something  might  take  place, 
that  might  lead  to  a  discovery  of  the  mysterious  warning 
\ve  had  heard  the  foregoing  night ;  to  which  ground  I  also 
attributed  the  foresight  of  Biondello.  My  conjecture  was 
but  too  well  founded.  The  crowd  of  masks  which  were 
present,  left  little  room  in  the  spacious  hall  for  the  dancers ; 


112  THE    GHOST-SEER. 

thus,  they  were  rather  crowded.  The  Prince,  in  en- 
deavouring to  pass  some  one  in  great  haste,  tore  a  part  of 
his  garment.  He  was  obliged  to  leave  the  hall  immediately 
to  repair  the  accident.  Biondello  conducted  him  into  a 
side  room,  and  I  followed.  Picture  to  yourself  our  astonish- 
ment, when  we  beheld,  in  a  recess,  the  Greek  lady  and 
Civitella  conversing  together.  Not  one  of  us  was  able  to 
utter  a  word.  The  Prince  seemed  thunderstruck  :  his  eyes 
rolled  wildly  in  his  head,  and  the  muscles  of  his  face  be- 
came convulsive.  The  couple  apparently  did  not  observe 
us.  Before  we  could  prevent  him,  the  Prince  seized  a 
dagger,  which  lay  upon  a  table,  and  rushing  towards  Civi- 
tella laid  him  bleeding  at  his  feet.  The  Greek  lady  ran  with 
loud  shrieks  into  the  hall. 

'  "  For  God's  sake,  save  yourself,  gracious  Prince ! '  ex- 
claimed Biondello,  '  lose  not  a  moment.'  At  that  instant 
he  laid  hold  of  the  Prince,  who  was  quite  stupified,  and 
hurried  him  away  through  a  side-door.  I  hastened  after 
them.  Scarcely  was  the  door  closed,  when  we  heard  a 
great  noise  in  the  room.  In  their  embarrassment  they  had 
probably  forgotten  to  pursue  us  ;  we  therefore  made  our 
escape.  The  Prince  wished  to  go  to  his  hotel,  but  Bion- 
dello prevented  him,  and  added  that  he  could  not  be  secure 
there.  The  powers  above  *  punish  very  rigorously  any  on  j 
that  attacks  a  mask ;  and  in  spite  of  his  rank,  he  was  in 
doubt  whether  they  would  not  to-morrow  morning  send 
after  him  one  of  their  fantes^,  which  might  have  very  bad 
consequences,  He  promised  to  conduct  him  to  a  place  of 
security  till  the  affair  could  be  settled.  Biondello  walked 
before  us  with  hasty  steps;  we  followed  him  very  close, 
and  I  must  confess,  with  great  dread  and  anxiety.  The 
apprehension  played  upon  my  fancy  so  much,  that  I  saw  at 
every  step  figures,  which  seemed  to  me  all  armed  with 
daggers.  From  the  Prince's  countenance,  I  easily  could 
perceive,  that  he  also  was  very  much  discouraged.  Not 
one  of  us  spoke  a  word.  Like  fugitive  criminals  we  stole 

*  This  expression,  or,  in  his  language,  quei  in  alto,  the  Venetians  use  as  a 
name  for  the  tribunal  of  the  Inquisition.  A  Venetian  is  so  afraid  of  that  word, 
that  he  makes  use  of  it  only  in  cases  of  great  necessity,  and  speaks  of  this 
tribunal  with  the  highest  veneration  and  beating  heart. 

t  An  officer  of  this  tribunal. 


THE    GHOST-SEER. 


113 


through  the  private  passages  and  by-streets.  We  were 
fortunate  enough  to  meet,  near  St.  Samuele,  a  boat,  which, 
to  all  appearance,  seemed  waiting  for  us.  We  stepped  into 
it :  Biondello  commanded  the  boatman  to  row  into  the 
Sestier  of  Castello,  and  to  land  us  near  St.  Francisco  detta 
Figna,  a  Franciscan  convent.  We  glided  like  lightning 
through  the  water.  Houses  and  steeples  that  bordered  the 
river  soon  vanished  from  our  sight.  The  moon  shone  with 
beautiful  splendour ;  and,  at  intervals,  we  heard  the  distant 
oars  as  they  dashed  into  the  stream,  and  the  melancholy 
song  of  the  Barcarole.* — I  shall  never  forget  the  impres- 
sion that  night  made  upon  my  mind. 

' f  We  arrived,  at  last,  at  the  before-mentioned  place ; 
and  Biondello  procured  us,  even  at  that  time  of  night, 
through  the  means  of  an  acquaintance,  the  best  accommo- 
dation. We  were  obliged  to  live  there  in  great  secrecy, 
and  I  observed  that  the  Prince  deeply  felt  his  situation. 
Biondello  walked  out  in  different  masks  to  learn  how  the 
matter  stood,  and  what  the  Prince  had  to  fear ;  but  for 
many  days  he  returned  without  success.  At  last  he  came 
into  the  room,  about  night-fall,  in  great  agitation.  c  We 
must  depart  hence,'  he  cried  with  a  trembling  voice, 
'  we  must  depart  this  moment !  Your  life  hangs  on  a 
thread,  my  Prince  !  The  Marquis  is  mortally  wound- 
ed; the  Cardinal  has  hired  twelve  assassins  to  murder 
you,  and  he  who  perpetrates  the  deed  is  promised  one 
hundred  sequins ;  a  price  which  an  assassin  would  be 
studious  to  earn,  were  it  even  to  take  the  life  of  the 
head  of  the  church.  They  already  are  acquainted  with 
our  abode  —  we  must  hasten  away  as  quickly  as  pos- 
sible !' 

"  Had  not  Biondello  been  with  us,  we  could  not  pos- 
sibly have  escaped  our  fate  ;  but  this  indefatigable  and 
attentive  man  assisted  us  always  with  the  best  advice.  He 
brought  us  clothes,  as  a  disguise,  and  we  hired  a  boat  for 
our  conveyance.  Biondello  entered  into  conversation  with 

*  Barcarole  are  a  kind  of  watermen.  They  sing  for  entertainment,  whilst  they 
are  lying  solitarily  in  their  boats,  expecting  customers.  They  know  by  heart 
many  passages  of  the  poets,  and  add  to  them  music  of  their  own  composition, 
which  they  endeavour  to  make  adequate  to  the  words.  One  is  heard  to  begin ; 
another,  who  perhaps  does  not  know  the  first,  hears,  and  answers  him,  and 
they  seldom  discontinue  their  song  till  their  business  calls  them  away. 
VOL.  I.  H 


114  THE    GHOST-SEER. 

the  waterman,  and  we  experienced,  to  our  astonishment, 
in  what  great  danger  we  were  placed,  and  how  industrious 
the  assassins  were  to  earn  the  hundred  sequins.  Sus- 
pecting that  some  one  might  he  able,  by  the  boatman,  to 
trace  our  route,  to  deceive  them,  we  continually  changed 
our  boat,  and  went  a  very  circuitous  way  about.  At  last 

we  arrived  at  the  convent .     A  friendly  monk,  also 

an  acquaintance  of  Biondello,  received  us  at  the  gate,  and 
conducted  us  immediately  to  a  room,  which  was  retired 
and  clean,  but  not  furnished  for  the  reception  of  a  prince. 
'  A  lady,  in  the  last  agonies  of  death,  wishes  to  speak  to 
you,'  said  the  monk  the  next  day  to  the  Prince.  He 
started  as  if  he  had  suffered  an  electrical  stroke.  '  Who 
is  she  ? '  he  exclaimed  hastily.  c  I  do  not  know  ;  I  have 
not  enquired  concerning  that.  She  has  lived  for  two  years 
in  this  convent.  Whence  she  came  is  unknown.  It 
is  our  duty  to  receive  every  stranger,  within  our  walls, 
without  first  asking  who  he  is,  or  whence  becomes. — We 
suffer  every  one  to  keep  his  secret,  if  he  will  not  discover 
it  to  us  willingly.' 

ef  The  Prince  seemed  lost  in  deep  reflection.  '  How 
long  has  she  been  ill?'  he  said  at  last.  '  To-day  is  the 
seventh.'  {  Where  is  she  ?  I  will  go  to  her.'  He  fol- 
lowed the  monk. 

"  In  the  sick  room,  my  dear  friend,  was  his  Greek  lady. 
I  have  forgotten  to  mention,  that  he  had  not  an  opportunity 
to  speak  to  her  for  two  days  previous  to  the  unhappy 
masquerade-ball ;  it  was  clear  now  what  detained  her.  I 
myself  saw  her,  and  I  am  not  able  to  describe  my  feelings, 
when  I  beheld  the  most  charming  creature  in  the  creation, 
who  was  formerly  the  admiration  of  every  one,  but  now  the 
victim  of  horror  and  disease.  Upon  her  lovely  face  were 
marked  the  signs  of  death.  —  I  no  longer  doubted,  that  at . 
the  ball  we  must  have  been  mistaken  in  the  person ;  but 
the  Prince,  in  total  opposition  to  his  former  character,  still 
entertained  his  doubts.  This  affected  his  sensibility  to 
such  a  degree,  that  nothing  could  be  equal  to  it.  His 
ardent  affection  threw  him  into  the  most  violent  paroxysms 
of  despair,  when  he  saw  the  object  of  his  heart  in  the  arms 
of  death  ;  but,  in  a  few  minutes,  the  fatal  scene  at  the  ball 


THE   GHOST-SEER.  115 

rushed  upon  his  mind  —  he  turned  from  her  with  disgust, 
impressed  with  the  idea  that  she  had  treated  his  love  with 
scorn.  His  eyes  sparkled  with  rage,  and,  as  in  agony,  his 
limbs  trembled ;  but  this,  when  he  looked  upon  the  patien-t 
innocent,  was  changed  into  sympathetic  melancholy.  His 
situation  was  terrible.  Although  she  herself  suffered  very 
much,  she  sought  to  console  him.  This  circumstance 
almost  drove  him  to  distraction,  I  tore  him  by  force  from 
her  bed.  He  sat  silent  in  our  room  for  some  time;  at 
last  he  exclaimed  —  '  I  am  shamefully  deceived !  She, 
whom  I  adored,  despised  me,  and  rioted  licentiously  in  tho 
arms  of  another.' 

" '  Gracious  Prince,  be  satisfied.  All  circumstances 
clearly  prove,  that  she  was  lying  ill  here  when  the  deed 
happened.  It  must  have  been  quite  a  different  person/ 
f  Did  I  not  see  her  —  I,  who  preserved  in  the  sanctuary  of 
my  heart  the  smallest  of  her  favours  —  I,  who  existed  only 
for  her,  who  thought  her  one  and  the  same  with  myself — 

to  be  treated  thus  !  '•• '  Pardon  me,  gracious  Prince, 

did  you  not  say  yourself,  that  under  such  circumstances, 
one  might  be  easily  deceived  :?'  '  Did  you  not  see  her 
also  ?'  '  Your  rash  action  hindered  us  from  observing  her 
minutely.'  '  And  how  came  she  to  know  that  I  was  in  the 
convent  ?  The  plan  is  finely  laid  to  decoy  me  again  into 
the  net;  but  it  will  not  succeed!'  ' Do  not  mistrust  her. 
— An  unhappy  affair  brought  us  hither  ;  and,  meeting  her 
in  such  a  pitiable  situation,  must  have  operated  strongly 
upon  your  mind,  and — '  '  Will  you  remind  me  of  my 
weakness  ?  I  believed,  from  the  first  moment,  that  it  was 
a  juggle.'  '  Her  illness  a  juggle?'  e  Is  that  impossible, 
after  having  had  the  experience  that  we  have  ? ' 

"  I  know  not  how  long  this  conversation  would  have 
lasted ;  for  the  more  I  endeavoured  to  convince  him  of  his 
error,  so  much  the  more  he  opposed  me  ;  and  his  under- 
standing, formerly  so  enlightened,  did  not  look  upon  what 
appeared  the  fact  as  at  all  probable.  Biondello's  arrival 
prevented  a  continuation  of  our  discourse.  He  did  not, 
however,  bring  news  of  our  being  safe  ;  yet  the  Prince 
became,  in  one  respect,  more  composed.  For,  he  said  it 
was  in  several  places  reported,  that  the  lady,  on  account  .of 


Il6  THE    GHOST-SEER. 

whom  we  had  suffered  so  much,  was  no  other  person  than 
a  certain  V — Hi,  who  was  of  an  indifferent  character,,  and 
extremely  like  the  Greek  lady.  The  similarity  of  the 
dress,  and  the  darkness  of  the  room  in  which  they  were 
sitting,  served  also  to  deceive  us.  How  his  beloved  knew 
that  he  was  in  the  convent,  was  also  explained  to  his 
satisfaction.  One  of  her  footmen  had  discovered  Biondello 
—  she  had  often  made  particular  enquiries  after  the  Prince, 
and  having  discovered  his  retreat,  desired  once  more  to  see 
and  speak  to  her  beloved.  Conscious  of  her  innocence,  her 
sufferings  made  a  greater  impression  upon  the  mind  of  the 
Prince.  He  very  seldom  quitted  her  bed,  and  gave  himself 
up  entirely  to  sorrow.  The  cause  of  her  dissolution  will 
also  be  that  of  mine.  —  Oh !  that  I  might  die  with  the 
tranquillity  that  she  did !  Her  patience  under  her  suf- 
ferings, her  serenity  of  mind,  when  the  shadows  of  death 
surrounded  her,  contributed  to  make  her  more  beloved  than 
ever.  Oh  !  that  I  might  be  certain  of  such  a  happy  death 
as  hers  !  *  This  angel  died  by  poison,;  for,  on  the  dis- 
section of  her  body,  at  which  I  was  obliged  to  be  present, 
the  clearest  proofs  of  it  were  visible.f 

"  The  situation  of  the  Prince  I  am  not  able  to  describe 
to  you.  I  trembled  for  his  safety ;  for  when  he  saw  the 
corpse  carried  to  the  grave,  he  burst  into  a  loud  hysterical 
laugh,  and,  as  in  a  fit  of  madness,  uttered  expressions  that 
I  never  wish  to  recollect.  Several  days  passed,  in  which 
nothing  remarkable  happened.  Biondello's  accounts  were 
always  the  same,  and  the  Marquis  had  not  yet  recovered 
from  his  indisposition.  We  did  not  perceive  that  they 
were  at  all  solicitous  to  discover  us,  although  he  assured 
us,  that  they  had  not  yet  given  over  the  pursuit ;  and  that 
our  safety  depended  upon  our  remaining  quiet ;  for  their 
revenge  would  not  be  satisfied  but  by  blood.  For  want  of 
room  I  was  obliged  to  sleep  in  the  Prince's  apartment.  It 
was  about  midnight  when  he  came  to  my  bedside  and  waked 
me. 

"  c  Have  you  heard  nothing  ? '  said  he.  —  I  replied  in 
the  negative,  for  I  had  slept  very  soundly,  my  rest  having  been 

*  This  wish  of  my  friend  was  fulfilled  in  every  particular. 

f  He  has  already  mentioned  this  in  his  last  letter.    See  the  foregoing. 


THE    GHOST-SEER.  11? 

broken  the  preceding  night.  f  Has  any  thing  happened  to 
you,,  gracious  Sir  ? '  '  Had  I  not  the  proof  in  my  hands, 
I  should  think  it  was  a  dream.  It  seems  as  if  I  am  sur- 
rounded every  where  hy  invisible  beings.  I  was  just  on 
the  point  of  falling  asleep,  when  I  was  disturbed  by  the 
most  enchanting  music.  Whilst  I  listened  to  find  whence 
the  sound  came,  a  genius  appeared  to  descend  through  the 
upper  part  of  my  bed,  graced  with  all  the  charms  with 
which  our  painters  usually  represent  them  ;  but  no  pencil 
ever  portrayed  such  a  perfection  of  irresistible  beauty.  A 
soft  light  surrounded  it,  and  illuminated  my  bed.  I  had 
drawn  the  curtain  very  close.  The  night  lamp  burnt 
faintly,  and  on  witnessing  this  apparition,  I  reflected  upon 
the  former  prophecy,  which,  alas  !  was  so  punctually  ful- 
filled. I  remained  lost  in  astonishment  and  fear.  With 
a  melodious  voice  it  spoke  to  me :  —  My  lord  and  master 
sends  thee  a  letter  ;  open  and  read  it,  but  not  before  the  first 
beam  of  the  sun  announces  day,  and  conquer  all  disbelief! 
He  let  fall  a  letter,  and  melted,  as  it  were,  into  a  cloud, 
which  vanished  by  degrees.  His  disappearance  was  accom- 
panied by  the  same  agreeable  music  as  announced  his  ap- 
proach, and  a  rich  perfume  diffused  itself  around  me. 

"  The  Prince  shewed  me  the  letter.  It  was  exactly  like 
a  common  letter ;  only  the  seal  consisted  of  several' symbols, 
which  we  could  not  explain,  and  it  was  not  directed.  He 
put  it  into  his  pocket.  '  Will  you  not  open  it  ? '  said  I. 
f  To-rnorrow  at  the  appointed  hour/  '  You  believe,  then,  in 
this  apparition  ?  '  He  was  silent  for  a  while.  '  Must  I  not  ? 
— —Oh  !  what  would  I  give  if  I  could  but  still  doubt  it,  and 
persevere  in  that  philosophy,  of  which  I  boasted  so  much  ! 
Now  I  must  give  up  all.  I  believe  now  in  every  thing ! 
Can  I  do  otherwise,  after  what  has  happened  to  me  ?  ' 

"  He  slept  no  more  that  night,  but  conversed  of  ghosts 
and  supernatural  appearances ;  and  I  soon  experienced  how 
much  he  inclined  to  believe  in  the  possibility  of  them.  At 
the  appointed  time  he  took  the  letter  from  his  pocket,  and, 
behold,  there  was  a  direction  upon  it !  This,  although  a 
trifle,  greatly  astonished  the  Prince  ;  and  you  may  easily 
conceive  how  he  was  affected  at  the  moment.  He  opened 
it.  It  was  a  mere  cover  ;  but  there  was  enclosed  a  receipt 
H  3 


118  THE    GHOST-SEER. 

from  Civitella,  not  only  for  the  sums  which  he  had  lent  to 
the  Prince,  but  also  for  the  interest ;  and  a  letter  from  him 
©f  which  I  will  give  you  a  copy  ;  I  transcribed  it  on  account 
of  its  singularity  :  — 

'  My  gracious  Prince  f 

'  The  enormity  of  my  crime  is  so  great,  that  I  ask  of 
you  forgiveness,  and  hope  your  heart  will  not  deny  it,  as 
my  repose  and  future  happiness  depend  upon  it.  You 
punished  my  imprudence,  at  that  unfortunate  ball,  by  a  se- 
vere blow ;  and  I,  like  a  madman,  suffered  myself  to  be 
evercome  by  rage,  and  thirsted  for  revenge.  After  the 
abominable  custom  of  this  country,  I  begged  of  my  uncle 
to  hire  a  party  of  banditti  to  kill  yon — the  saviour  of  my 
life.  The  thought  oppresses  me  with  horror;  but  you, 
who  gave  the  wound,  were  also  able  to  cure  it,  and  could 
have  done  it  by  one  word  ! — Oh  !  you,  at  whose  command 
the  higher  powers  wait,  why  do  you  fly  from  my  weak  un- 
pardonable revenge,  which  you  could  have  suppressed  at 
pleasure?  —  Why  did  you  send  me  the  sums  of  money, 
which  I  lent  you  with  such  satisfaction,  thus  to  deprive  me 
of  the  consolation,  which  you  at  first  so  nobly  gave  me  ? 
Whilst  you  thought  me  worthy  to  share  with  you  my  for- 
tune, you  did  not  want  it.  —  Oh  !  act  with  generosity  and 
forgive  me,  for,  without  that,  my  recovery  will  be  to  me 
the  most  unhappy  period  of  my  life,  I  cannot  excuse  my 
temerity ;  no,  I  am  not  able  to  do  it  —  but  you  will  be  less 
indignant  at  my  conduct,  if  you  consider  that  it  is  by  edu- 
cation alone  such  a  detestable  self- revenge  can  be  justified. 
Am  I  not  by  such  appearances  punished  enough  ? — Alas  ! 
the  recollection  of  it  will  never  be  rooted  from  my  memory. 
As  I  lay  upon  my  bed,  suffering  the  most  excruciating  pain, 
and  the  bystanders  expecting  my  death  every  moment, 
there  appeared  to  me  a  figure,  in  a  long  black  Tartar  dress, 
and  girded  round  the  loins  with  a  golden  belt.  It  approached 
near  to  my  bed  r  its  white  beard  flowed  upon  its  breast,  and 
a  penetrating  frown  sat  upon  its  brow  :  it  looked  around, 
and  immediately  my  attendants  sunk  to  sleep.  Wretch!  — 
it  cried,  with  a  terrible  voice  —  who  has  ventured  to  per- 
secute him  with  vengeance,,  who  could  instantly  destroy  thy 


THE    GHOST-SEER.  119 

life,  if  he  would  make  use  of  the  power  he  has  in  his  hands  ? 
I  will  not  repeat  the  dreadful  remonstrance  which  I  heard. 
It  was  a  miracle  that  I  did  not  expire  under  the  agitation 
this  appearance  occasioned.  Having  struggled  for  some 
time  in  the  most  terrible  torments,  the  figure  touched  me.  I 
was  instantly  free  from  pain,  and  perfectly  recovered.  Be- 
fore me,  on  the  table,  were  lying  heaps  of  gold,  for  which 
I  was  obliged  to  give  a  receipt.  It  also  desired  me  to  ask 
your  pardon  in  writing,  though  I  did  not  know  where  to 
address  you,  arid  upon  which  my  whole  welfare  would  de- 
pend. Oh  !  do  not  refuse  your  compassion  to  a  miserable 
wretch.  —  When  and  how  you  will  obtain  this  letter  I  do 
not  know ;  but  the  spirit  assured  me  that  you  would,  for 
certain,  have  it.  Alas,  gracious  Prince !  return  to  me 
again.  For,  with  sincere  repentance,  an  unworthy  being 
will  wait  upon  you  in  the  ante-chamber  of  your  hotel,  as 
soon  as  day  breaks. 

e  Your  unworthy  friend, 

'  ClVITELLA/ 

"  What  we  felt  on  reading  that  letter  I  need  not,  dear 

O describe  to  you.     It  was  an  event  which  filled  us 

with  astonishment.  The  Prince  did  not  doubt  the  fact  ; 
but  he  would  not  quit  his  haunt,  without  first  having  made 
all  possible  enquiry  as  to  its  authenticity.  Biondello,  who 
was  still  asleep,  was  called,  and  commissioned  to  enquire 
very  cautiously  into  every  circumstance.  The  voice  im- 
mediately repeated, — '  Overcome  your  disbelief!'  Bion- 
dello crossed  himself,  and  went  off.  He  did  not  go  far 
from  the  convent,  for  he  heard  from  his  spies,  that  we  were 
perfectly  safe ;  and  he  soon  returned  with  this  happy  news. 
The  Prince  conjured  us  to  be  silent  as  to  what  had  hap- 
pened, and  set  off  immediately.  We  arrived  at  the  hotel, 
and  found  not  only  Civitella  but  also  the  Cardinal,  who 
came  towards  the  Prince,  and,  in  the  humblest  manner, 
asked  his  pardon.  That  he  forgave  them  willingly,  and 
was  highly  satisfied  to  free  himself  from  such  a  dangerous 
dilemma,  is  easily  to  be  imagined.  Nor  did  he  undeceive 
them  as  to  the  idea,  that  higher  powers  were  at  his  com- 
mand, and  that  the  ghost  had  appeared  to  Civitella  by  his 
H  4 


120  THE    GHOST-SEER. 

desire ;  he  only  begged  of  them  to  keep  it  a  secret.  Civi- 
tella  assured  him  that  it  was  quite  public,  for  the  people 
who  waited  upon  him  knew  it,  and  had  already  cried  him 
up  as  a  saint. 

"  'But  the  people  were  asleep,  how  could  they  discover 
the  vision  ? '  replied  the  Prince,  with  some  doubt.  '  Yes, 
gracious  Prince,'  said  Civitella — '  but  they  saw  the  form 
descending  into  the  room,  and  witnessed,  on  their  recovering 
from  their  terror,  my  restoration.  They  saw  me  at  the 
brink  of  the  grave ;  and  to  be  restored  so  suddenly,  must 
have  excited  their  astonishment ;  and  can  you  blame  me, 
that  in  the  moment  when  I  found  myself  snatched  from 
the  jaws  of  death,  I  called  you,  with  gratitude,  my  bene- 
factor ?  —  You  did  not  prohibit  me  to  do  it ;  and  had 
that,  been  the  case,  I  believe  I  should  have  violated  your 
commands.  Oh  !  most  gracious  Prince !  there  is  no  greater 
pain  than  for  an  uncorrupted  mind  to  suppress  the  feelings 
of  a  grateful  heart ! '  He  threw  himself  at  the  feet  of  the 
Prince,  whilst  tears  burst  from  his  eyes.  '  I  have  already 
forgiven  you,'  said  the  Prince,  raising  him  from  the  ground. 
f  But,  am  I  beloved  by  you  as  formerly  ? — Am  I  not  un- 
worthy of  it  ? '  he  continued  in  tears.  f  When  I  forgive, 
I  do  it  not  by  halves,'  said  the  Prince,  embracing  him. 

"  Life  now  seemed  to  beam  afresh  in  the  Marquis.  He 
did  not  even  appear  to  have  been  at  all  ill,  for  he  looked  as 
healthy  as  ever;  but  a  fixed  melancholy,  that  was  dis- 
cernible in  his  countenance,  extinguished  those  traces  of 
benevolence  which  had  formerly  rendered  him  so  attrac- 
tive. But  by  this  reconciliation  he  recovered  his  happy 
looks,  and  ran  through  the  room  in  an  excess  of  joy 
that  indicated  his  felicity.  After  the  first  intoxica- 
tion was  over,  he  was  overwhelmed  with  an  agreeable 
anxiety,  which  did  not  at  all  belong  to  his  character,  and 
from  which  one  could  perceive  how  much  he  felt  his  in- 
discretion. This,  and  the  solicitude  which  originated  with 
it,  made  him  more  agreeable  to  the  Prince,  and  he  became 
to  him  as  dear  as  ever  :  he  understood  the  smallest  hint ; 
he  sought  to  read  in  his  eyes  his  most  distant  wishes,  and 
soon  learned  how  to  regulate  his  conduct  according  to  his 
desires  :  besidesj  ne  sufficiently  understood  how  to  give 


THE    GHOST-SEER. 


121 


his  actions  an  air  of  duty,  and  continually  exclaimed 
how  much  he  owed  to  the  Prince.  Believing  that  the 
Prince's  violence  upon  the  night  of  the  ball  was  nothing 
more  than  a  punishment  for  his  extravagancies —  (for  he 
did  not  conceive  that  the  Prince  had  taken  the  lady  that  was 
with  him  for  his  Grecian)  —  he  now  altered  his  mode  of  life, 
and  often  thanked  the  Prince  that  he  had  punished  him  so 
severely.  He  declared  that  he  was  proud  of  it — that  he 
esteemed  him  higher  than  ever,  and  thought  him  more  worthy 
of  his  friendship.  He  candidly  confessed  to  me,  that  he  had 
at  that  time  entertained  an  idea,  which  would  in  the  end 
have  been  his  ruin.  He  had  laid  a  plan  to  seduce  the 
daughter  of  the  — t — io,  a  charming  innocent  girl  of  six- 
teen. He  had  seen  her,  for  the  first  time,  at  mass,  and  her 
beauty  impressed  him  with  this  resolution. 

"  To  gain  access  to  the  house  of  her  parents,  and  to 
succeed  in  this  diabolical  scheme,  he  was  obliged  to  court 
the  favour  of  the  same  lady  with  whom  we  had  seen  him 
at  the  ball,  because  she  was  a  near  relation  to  the  family, 
and  could  easily  introduce  him.  The  strictness  with  which 
she  was  watched  would  have  required  him  to  commit  a 
chain  of  crimes  before  he  could  have  obtained  his  aim. 
His  passion  was  so  violent,  that,  united  with  his  natural 
imprudence,  he  did  not  hesitate  to  adopt  the  most  impolite 
manners  to  accomplish  his  purpose.  At  the  brink  of  the 
grave,  he  added,  a  man  reflects  upon  all  his  actions  in 
another  point  of  view ;  and  even  those  that  formerly  gave 
him  great  pleasure,  and  upon  which  he  had  often  spoken 
with  delight,  pierced  him  to  the  very  soul  with  horror. 

"  Oh  !  dearest  friend,  Civitella  is,  notwithstanding  all 
his  licentiousness,  a  noble  man,  and,  if  he  commits  a  fault, 
he  knows  how  to  compensate  for  it,  in  such  a  manner,  that 
one  must  attribute  it  to  him  as  a  great  action.  From  his 
discourse,  and  from  his  answers  to  my  questions,  I  could 
distinctly  perceive,  that  it  was  not  him,  but  the  Cardinal 
his  uncle,  who  caused  the  banditti  to  pursue  us  so  indus- 
triously ;  but  he  generously  took  all  upon  himself,  and  en- 
deavoured to  prevent  us  from  discovering  the  truth.  It  is 
much  to  be  lamented,  that  so  superior  an  understanding, 


122  THE    GHOST-SEER. 

with  such  a  good  heart,  and  such  an  enchanting  appearance, 
must  perish  upon  a  Venetian  soil.* 

"  It  is  a  singular  thing,  considering  the  bad  education 
which  the  children  of  the  nobility  receive,  from  the  most 
stupid  and  rudest  sort  of  priests,  called  abbes,  that  he  was 
so  enlightened,  or  possessed  of  that  sensibility,  which  gives 
to  all  his  actions  so  much  captivating  interest.  I  have  neg- 
lected to  mention,  that  curiosity  induced  us  to  ask  the 
Marquis  to  show  us  the  place  where  he  had  been  wounded. 
He  opened  his  shirt,  and,  to  our  great  surprise,  we  per- 
ceived that  there  was  not  any  appearance  of  a  wound,  or 
the  smallest  mark  of  any  violence." 

Continuation  of  Count  O . 

My  friend  exhausted  himself  so  much  by  his  relation, 
that  aU  the  powers  of  nature  seemed  suspended.  My 
doubts  were  but  too  well  founded ;  he  appeared  to  sleep, 
but  it  was  that  of  death  —  my  tears  are  sacrificed  to  his 
memory !  He  was  a  man  of  fine  ideas ;  but  from  the 
goodness  of  his  heart,  and  an  unsuspecting  disposition,  he 
became  so  much  the  easier  a  prey  to  his  enemies,  whose 
dislike  to  him  arose  from  his  attachment  to  his  master.  I 
was  now  left  alone  in  a  great  city,  possessed  of  no  friend 
to  whom  I  could  communicate  my  thoughts,  and  was 
obliged  to  take  particular  care  not  to  talk  with  any  one 
but  upon  common  topics,  because  I  presumed,  and  with 
reason,  that  I  was  surrounded  by  spies,  who  would  put 
a  false  construction  upon  my  words,  and  make  that  a  plea 
for  poisoning  me.  The  death  of  my  friend  had  made  me 
cautious.  His  earnest  request,  that  I  would  quit  the  place, 
and  the  message  that  the  Prince  sent  to  me  by  Biondello, 
now  preyed  upon  my  mind  with  double  force ;  my  sorrow 
also  contributed,  in  a  great  measure,  to  aid  my  determin- 

*  My  friend  here  goes  too  far.  Although  the  sciences  at  Venice  are  in  a  bad 
state,  for  want  of  encouragement,  there,  however,  are  open  to  an  enquiring 
mind  very  considerable  libraries,  from  which  a  man  may  gain  a  great  deal  of 
useful  knowledge.  But  the  case  is,  that  they  will  not  make  use  of  them.  And 
the  young  nobleman,  who  intends  to  fit  himself  for  the  service  of  the  state,  has 
to  study  history  and  politics ;  a  few  departments,  which,  if  they  are  filled  up, 
require  talents  and  industry,  and  are  equally -useful  and  necessary  for  those 
whom  their  birth  has  destined  for  the  government  of  the  republic.  Tims  has 
my  friend  praised  the  talents  of  the  Marquis;  they  seem,  however,  to  me  to 
be  more  of  a  glittering  nature  than  founded  upon  learning.  COUNT 


THE    GHOST-SEER. 

ation.  I  resolved  to  leave  Venice.  I  locked  myself  up  in 
my  room  for  a  few  days,,  and  then  forsook  a  city  in  which 
I  had  lost  two  beloved  friends.  Before  I  went,  I  sent  to 
the  Prince  a  card  of  departure. 

I  had  travelled  about  sixty  Italian  miles,,  when  the  idea 
that  1  might  possibly  save  the  Prince,  obliged  me  to 
return.  I  was  irresistibly  compelled  to  act  in  this  man- 
ner ;  for  my  mind,  ever  anxious  for  his  safety,  represented 
to  me  in  black  colours  all  that .  might  befall  him ;  and  I 
looked  upon  it  as  criminal  not  to  endeavour  to  rescue  him. 
Fixed  in  this  resolution,  I  entered  upon  the  execution  of 
my  plan,  without  once  considering  the  dangers  and  diffi- 
culties which  surrounded  such  an  undertaking.  I  took 
the  precaution,  however,  for  fear  of  being  discovered,  to 
dismiss  my  faithful  servant,  and  the  only  one  I  had  taken 
with  me.  I  parted  from  him  with  deep  regret;  for  he 
alone  had  sometimes,  by  his  compassionate  fidelity,  afforded 
me  consolation.  I  was  now  obliged  to  go  without  com- 
panionship :  but  it  was  absolutely  necessary.  He  was  an 
incomparable  good  servant ;  but  he  had  one  fault,  which  I 
could  not  break  him  of,  although  he  had  served  me  twenty 
years,  and  which  was  in  opposition  to  every  principle  of 
my  scheme, — he  could  not  keep  a  secret.  What  he 
knew  he  published  to  the  whole  world;  and,  though  he 
did  not  tell  it  in  direct  terms,  his  actions  and  behaviour 
betrayed  it  to  every  one  he  was  acquainted  with,  if  he 
thought  well  of  them,  and  fancied  they  were  possessed  of 
the  same  goodness  of  heart  as  himself.  It  could  not  but 
happen  that  he  was  very  often  deceived,  but  this  did  not 
make  him  at  all  more  prudent.  To  put  unbounded  con- 
fidence in  every  one  was  his  maxim,  from  which  he  never 
departed ;  for  he  used  to  say,  that  he  should  feel  it  severely 
if  he  was  suspected  by  any  one;  and  for  that  reason  he 
thought  it  would  be  the  same  to  others :  and  that  the 
whole  world  trusted  him  he  was  convinced.  He  believed 
every  one  that  was  at  all  reserved  in  his  conduct  to  be  free 
from  guile.  If  one  expressly  told  him  to  be  silent  upon 
any  subject,  he  became  anxious  not  to  let  any  thing  drop 
that  could  betray  him,  which  never  failed  to  lead  him  into 
an  error.  For  he  had  always  in  his  mind,  and  at  his 


THE    GHOST-SEER. 

tongue's  end,  what  he  should  not  discover,,  and  very  often 
repeated  to  himself  my  prohibition;  and  it  frequently 
happened  that  he  acted  thus  in  society,  and  said  to  him- 
self, loudly  and  significantly,  "  Caspar,  don't  forget  that 
your  master  has  told  you  so  and  so — "  (and  immediately 
mentioned  the  thing  which  he  ought  to  have  kept  a  secret,) 
"  you  must  not  chatter  out  what  he  has  prohibited  you  to 
mention," 

He  no  sooner  heard  that  it  was  public  than  he  main- 
tained firmly  that  he  had  told  it  to  nobody.  This  serious 
fault  was,  however,  balanced  by  his  other  good  qualities, 
which  induced  me  to  keep  him.  At  first  I  thought  of 
dismissing  him  my  service,  as  I  was  not  accustomed  to  put 
up  with  such  conduct.  I  used  to  practise  an  artifice  upon 
him,  which  succeeded  extremely  well,  as  he  was  obliged 
to  keep  every  thing  he  heard  a  secret.  I  related  to  him, 
at  the  same  time,  something  that  was  unconnected  with 
the  subject,  and  desired  him  particularly  not  to  mention 
it:  by  that  means  I  deceived  him,  and  the  subject  J 
wished  to  be  a  secret  was  forgotten.  I  did  not  mention 
to  him  my  determination  respecting  him;  but  wrote  a 
letter,  and  sent  him  forward  with  it,  under  the  pretext  of 
bespeaking  quarters  for  me.  He  was  obliged  to  deliver 
this  letter  to  a  landlord  at ,  with  whom  I  had  fre- 
quently lodged,  and  who  knew  him  to  be  an  honest  man. 
I  requested  him  to  inform  my  servant  that  I  had  thrown 
myself  into  a  river.  I  enclosed  a  bank-note,  and  com- 
manded him  to  make  the  inn  his  home ;  begging  of  him, 
at  the  same  time,  not  to  make  any  enquiries  after  me.  To 
preserve  appearances,  and  to  give  him  an  idea  that  it 
grieved  me  to  part  from  him,  I  wrote  an  affectionate 
farewell-letter  to  him,  and  begged  of  him  again  to  fulfil 
my  last  and  particular  request. 

Poor  Caspar's  case  was  extremely  hard;  but  I  was 
under  the  necessity  of  treating  him  in  that  manner.  Had 
I  told  him  that  I  was  obliged  to  part  with  him,  on  account 
of  my  intention  to  travel  privately,  he  would  have  sought 
me  every  where,  and  would  have  enquired  of  every  body, 
whether  they  had  seen  or  heard  any  thing  of  me;  my 
hiding-place,  by  that  means,  would  have  been  discovered, 


THE    GHOST-SEER.  125 

and  my  death  the  certain  consequence.  I  was  convinced 
that  he  would  punctually  fulfil  my  last  request,  and  it 
would  be  very  easy  for  me  to  find  him  again  when  I 
wanted  him.  I  begged  of  him  to  be  comforted ;  that  he 
would  not  commit  suicide  I  was  convinced ;  for  the  respect 
which  he  had  for  the  last  request  of  a  deceased  friend  was 
uncommonly  great.  I  hope  my  readers  will  pardon  this 
digression ;  Caspar  was  my  faithful  servant,  and  deserves 
more  than  this  poor  tribute  for  his  gratitude. 

After  hesitating  a  considerable  time.,  (suspicious,,  pro- 
bably of  my  intention,)  Caspar  separated  from  me.  With 
the  greatest  emotion  I  looked  after  him  until  he  disappeared. 
I  was  now  left  alone.  Quite  undetermined  which  road  I 

should  take,,   I  departed  for  .     On  the  day  of  my 

arrival,  I  heard  that,  in  the  evening,  there  was  to  be  a 
masquerade  ball ;  and  a  thought  struck  me,  which  I  im- 
mediately put  in  execution.  I  bought  the  habit  of  a  Polish 
Jew,  ornamented  my  chin  with  a  large  beard,  coloured  my 
eyebrows  and  face,  and  wandered  thus  towards  Venice. 
The  goods  which  I  was  possessed  of,  and  my  horse,  I 
turned  into  money,  and  secreted  it,  with  some  jewels,  in  my 
belt.  I  did  not  doubt  my  ability  to  play  my  character 
faithfully ;  for  I  had  been  a  long  while  in  Poland,  and  had 
dealt  with  the  Jews ;  inclination  too,  partly,  as  well  as 
necessity,  induced  me  to  learn  their  language,  in  which  I 
was  so  well  skilled,  that  I  have,  even  by  the  Jews  them- 
selves, been  taken  for  one  of  their  tribe.  I  travelled  the 
greatest  part  of  the  way  on  foot,  and  about  twenty  miles 
from  Venice  entered  an  inn,  where  I  met  poor  Caspar. 
He  was  sitting  in  a  corner  of  the  room,  and  seemed  totally 
absorbed  in  thought.  I  was  anxious  to  avoid  being  seen 
by  him,  and,  for  that  reason,  was  about  absenting  myself 
from  the  room,  when  he  came  towards  me,  and  asked  me 
from  whence  I  came  ?  This  made  me  bolder,  and  I  told 
him  the  place  where  I  had  passed  the  night  before.  The 
word  was  scarcely  out  of  my  mouth,  when  he  enquired  if 
I  had  not  seen  his  master?  "  No,"  I  answered  quickly,  and 
reflected  afterwards,  how  unthinkingly  it  was  done ;  be- 
cause it  gave  him  to  understand  that  both  of  them  were 
known  to  me.  But  it  did  not  strike  Caspar  in  the  same 


126  THE    GHOST-SEER. 

way,  and  this  no  induced  him  to  sit  near  to  me,  and  to 
relate,  with  the  most  heartfelt  sorrow,  the  history  of  his 
master.  I  reminded  him  to  fulfil  the  last  request  of  his 
benefactor,  and  heard,  to  my  astonishment,  that  he  did  not 
think  me  dead.  I  immediately  invented  a  story  which 
convinced  him  of  the  fact.  He  departed  early  the  next 
day,  and  promised  me  that  he  would  faithfully  observe  my 
request.  He  took  an  affectionate  leave  of  me,  without 
knowing  who  I  was,  which  convinced  me  that  I  might  live 
at  Venice  in  security ;  for  I  hoped  to  render  the  Prince  ser- 
vices of  great  consequence. 

Before  I  arrived  at  Venice,  I  met  with  an  accident, 
which  had  great  influence  on  my  conduct.  I  stopped  to- 
wards night-fall  at  an  inn,  which  stood  by  the  road-side. 
I  found  there  a  Polish  Jew,  who  was  at  the  point  of  death. 
He  no  sooner  beheld  me,  than  he  addressed  himself  to  me, 
and  in  a  few  minutes  we  entered  into  conversation,  in 
which  the  greatest  confidence  was  displayed.  By  my  com- 
passion, and  the  little  service  which  I  rendered  him,  I  at 
last  gained  his  utmost  confidence.  His  illness  increased  ; 
there  was  no  hopes  of  his  recovery.  When  we  were  alone, 
he  called  me  to  his  bedside,  and  I  experienced  what 
astonished  me  beyond  description.  "  I  shall  depart,"  he 
said,  "  very  soon  to  Paradise,  there  to  repose  in  the  laps  of 
Abraham,  Isaac,  and  Jacob ;  but  I  have  something  of  great 
importance,  which  I  cannot  carry  with  me.  You  have 
gained  my  confidence,  and  for  that  reason  I  shall  deliver  it 
to  you." — I  was  obliged  to  swear  that  I  would  punctually 
perform  all  he  required ;  at  the  same  time,  he  assured  me, 
that  I  should  be  very  generously  recompensed  for  it.  He 

went  on:  —  "  The  an  confederates  have  sent  me  with 

a  letter," — (I  was  obliged  to  take  it  from  the  lining  of  his 
cap,)  "  instead  of  me,  do  you  deliver  it." 

How  great  was  my  astonishment,  when  I  heard  the 
Armenian  described  from  head  to  foot !  He  did  not  know 
who  he  was ;  but  he  told  me  the  place  where  he  was  to  be 
found,  at  certain  hours,  so  that  I  could  not  possibly  mistake 
him ;  he  gave  me,  besides,  a  sign,  which  was  unknown  to 
any  one  else,  and  the  answer  of  the  Armenian  would  clearly 
prove  him  the  person.  He  mentioned,  gwith  the  greatest 


THE    GHOST-SEER.  127 

care,  every  particular  several  times,  that  I  might  not  err. 
Although  I  did  not  want  this  precaution,  I  seemed  to  be  very 
attentive  to  what  he  said,  that  he  might  not  suspect  that  I 
had  any  knowledge  of  the  Armenian.  I  experienced  by 

the an  business  a  great  support  to  my  plan  ;  for  I  was 

anxious  that  they  should  think  me  the  real  messenger,  and 
not  suppose  that  this  man  had  merely  sent  me.  I  con- 
sidered I  should,  on  that  account,  be  trusted  with  greater 
confidence.  It  was  for  the  first  time  in  my  life  that  I 
wished  for  the  death  of  a  fellow-creature ;  but  I  certainly 
did  in  this  instance;  for  I  counted  upon  what  I  knew 
already,  and  believed  for  certain,  that  I  should  save  the 
Prince  as  soon  as  I  could  light  upon  the  Armenian ;  and 
this  would  all  have  been  frustrated  if  the  Jew  had  lived  ! 

He  died  the  following  day.  I  performed,  according  to 
his  request,  the  last  service,  and  departed  the  next  day. 
The  letter  I  secreted  in  my  cap.  My  heart  beat  with  joy, 
and  I  offered  up  my  thanks  to  heaven  for  its  favour.  I 
thought  I  should  never  reach  the  place  of  my  destination. 
I  arrived,  at  last,  in  Venice ;  my  heart  palpitated.  I  took 
lodgings  in  a  remote  part  of  the  city,  at  a  small  inn.  Be- 
fore I  arrived  there,  however,  I  was  very  much  alarmed. 
As  I  stepped  into  a  boat,  I  beheld  Biondello  in  the  same. 
I  was  fearful  of  being  discovered,  because  I  could  not  trust 
to  my  disguise,  as  there  were  so  many  sly  fellows  in  the 
city ;  although  I  avoided  being  detected  by  Caspar  (who 
knew  me  so  well).  But  if  a  man  studies  to  avoid  being 
known,  the  more  he  acts  his  part,  the  sooner  he  is  likely  to 
betray  himself.  I  was  influenced  by  this  consideration, 
and  therefore  put  a  good  countenance  upon  the  matter. 
Biondello  patted  my  shoulder,  and  gave  me  to  understand, 
that  my  presence  was  very  dear  to  him.  I  might  have 
given  him  some  suspicion,  if  he  had  not  disembarrassed  me, 

by  enquiring  something  of .     I  answered  him,  that 

he  must  observe  I  had  made  secrecy  my  rule  of  conduct. 
Instead  of  being  angry  with  me  for  such  a  reply,  he  was 
very  satisfied  with  it.  This  peculiar  conduct  was  very 
mysterious,  but  by  degrees  it  cleared  itself  up.  To  my  great 
satisfaction  I  learned  from  him,  that  they  were  informed  of 
my  death,  and  believed  it ;  for  he  asked  me  if  they  had 


128  THE    GHOST-SEER. 

found  my  corpse  ?  I  replied  in  the  negative,,  alleging  that 
it  was  impossible,  on  account  of  the  ice  that  floated  down 
the  river  —  that  I  confirmed  the  report,  every  one  will 
readily  believe. 

As  soon  as  I  arrived  in  the  room  which  I  had  hired  at 
the  inn,,  I  bolted  the  door,  and  opened  the  letter.  The  task 
was  very  difficult  to  perform  ;  but  I  tried  a  variety  of  ways, 
and,  at  last,  succeeded.  To  my  great  disappointment  it 
was  written  in  characters,  and  perfectly  unintelligible.  I 
made,  however,  several  attempts  to  understand  them,  but 
in  vain.  I  therefore  copied  them  very  exactly,  in  hopes,  at 
some  future  time,  to  find  the  key  to  them.  I  closed  the 
letter  again,  so  that  no  traces  of  my  having  opened  it  could 
be  perceived,  and  appeared  the  following  day,  at  the  ap- 
pointed time,  in  St.  Mark's  Place.  It  was  in  the  begin- 
ning of  January :  it  was  crowded  with  characteristic  masks  * 
and  spectators,  who  were  enjoying  the  entertainment.  I  did 
not  mix  with  them  ;  I  was  upon  the  watch  for  the  Armenian. 
I  pressed  often  through  the  crowd,  and  sought  him  in  every 
corner,  but  he  was  not  to  be  found.  I  resolved  to  wait  un- 
til night,  and  then  return  again  to  the  appointed  place 
upon  the  Broglio,  close  to  the  church.  The  first  person 
whom  I  saw  was  the  Prince.  He  was  in  a  domino,  but  his 
mask,  which  I  knew,  as  well  as  his  appearance,  betrayed 
him.  He  stood  before  a  pillar,  upon  which  were  a  great 
many  characters,  and  near  him  a  mask  dressed  like  a  magi- 
cian. The  latter  had  a  long  white  beard  that  descended  to 
his  belt,  to  which  was  attached  a  black  rope,  apparently  as 
a  symbol  of  his  profession.  In  his  right  hand  he  held  a 
stick,  with  which  he  pointed  to  the  pillar,  and  seemed  to 
explain  something  to  the  Prince,  who  listened  very  atten- 
tively. My  curiosity  prompted  me  to  approach  nearer,  but 
it  was  useless,  for  they  spoke  so  low  that,  in  the  tumult, 

*  I  give  this  note  for  the  information  of  those  of  my  readers,  who  are  unac- 
quainted with  the  manners  and  customs  of  Venice.  The  characteristic  masks 
are  in  Venice  customary,  from  the  time  of  the  three  kings,  or  wise  men  of  the 
East,  till  the  great  feast  day,  which  is  the  most  lively  in  the  whole  year.  All  the 
streets  and  squares  are,  at  that  time,  full  of  masks,  and  principally  the  St.  Mark's 
Place.  They  represent  all  sorts  of  characters,  nations,  manners,  and  customs. 
Those  who  speak  .entertain  themselves  with  every  one  who  will  talk  with 
them;  they  personate  faithfully  their  adopted  character,  and  being  sometimes 
men  of  wit,  afford  great  entertainment.  You  frequently  see  amongst  them  the 
Improvisator  i,  who  are  a  kind  of  poets  famous  for  impromptus. 


THE    GHOST-SEER.  129 

no  person  could  hear  a  single  word.  The  magician,  at 
last,  turned  round  and  discovered  me.  I  thought  that  he 
played  his  character  for  mere  pleasure,  and  was  entertaining 
the  Prince  with  his  tricks ;  but  I  was  greatly  mistaken.  The 
more  I  reflected  upon  this  event,  the  more  I  was  convinced 
that  it  was  designed  for  some  particular  purpose.  The  ma- 
gician went  leisurely  away.  I  had  made  it  always  a  rule  to 
notice  the  smallest  circumstance  that  concerned  the  Prince, 
and  therefore  followed  him  immediately :  but  he  disappeared, 
and  I  saw  the  Armenian  coming  towards  me.  I  gave  him 
the  sign  and  he  answered  it,  bidding  me,  at  the  same  time, 
follow  him.  I  complied,  and  he  conducted  me  into  a  dark 
street.  He  there  unlocked  the  door  of  a  house,  and  we  went 
together  into  a  small  room.  He  took  the  letter  from  me, 
and,  overlooking  it  slightly,  seemed  to  be  satisfied  with  its 
contents.  He  put  several  questions  to  me  on  account  of  the 

business,  which  I  answered  so  that  I  did  not  give  him 

the  least  cause  to  suspect  me.  He  desired  me  to  meet  him 
again  the  next  evening.  He  had  parted  from  me,  when 
he  returned  back,  and  addressed  me  in  the  Venetian 
language ;  he  had  before  spoken,  to  my  great  astonish- 
ment, in  German.  My  genius  assisted  me;  I  shook  my 
head,  and  told  him  that  I  did  not  understand  him. 
He  smiled,  and  said  he  had  forgotten  himself.  He  was 
willing  to  remind  me  once  more  not  to  mistake  the  appointed 
hour  the  next  evening.  I  promised  him  that  I  would  not, 
and  he  went  away.  This  circumstance  made  me  still  more 
cautious ;  and  I  maintained  my  character  so  well,  that,  when 
I  quitted  it,  it  became  very  difficult  for  me  not  to  use  the 
tone  and  manners  of  a  Polish  Jew. 

The  time,  until  the  hour  arrived,  passed  very  slowly; 
at  last,  it  was  announced  by  a  neighbouring  clock,  and  I 
went  immediately  to  the  appointed  place.  I  found  the  Ar- 
menian there,  who  hastily  conducted  me  to  a  boat.  Before 
we  quitted  it  I  was  blindfolded,  and  when  the  bandage  was 
taken  from  my  eyes — guess  my  astonishment  and  terror  ! 
— for  I  found  myself  in  the  same  hall  where  I  had  wit- 
nessed the  frightful  appearances  I  have  before  mentioned. 
It  way  exactly  the  same,  but  I  thought  the  assembly  were 

VOL.  I.  I 


130  THE    GHOST-SEER. 

more  numerous.  The  hall  was  splendidly  illuminated.  The 
horror  with  which  I  recognised  the  fatal  chamber  was  very 
visible ;  for  one  of  the  assembly  (by  his  speech,  I  guess  it 
must  have  been  the  Armenian,  for,  as  they  all  appeared 
masked,  it  was  impossible  to  discover  them,)  told  me  to 
have  courage.  They  said  also,  in  the  Venetian  language, 
that  a  Jew  was  a  singular  animal,  for  he  blushed  at  every 
thing  but  what  related  to  traffic.  The  company  took  their 
seats  at  a  long  table,  covered  with  black  cloth.  One  of 
them  seated  himself  at  a  little  table,  upon  which  there  were 
pens,  ink,  and  papers.  He  was  probably  the  secretary  of 
the  society ;  for  he  questioned  me  very  minutely  respecting 

the  letter  of ,  and  as  to  every  circumstance  that  was  at 

all  connected  with  it,  and  wrote  down  all  my  answers  to  his 
questions.  I  could  easily  guess  by  this  how  much  their 
success  depended  upon  my  answers ;  for  he  read  them  over 
to  me,  advising  me,  at  the  same  time,  to  alter  what  did  not 
appear  to  me  perfectly  correct.  I  was  too  well  prepared  to 
drop  any  thing  that  might  betray  me ;  I  had  likewise  time 
enough,  as  I  was  questioned  by  an  interpreter  (I  believe 
it  was  the  Armenian  himself  ),  to  think  of  the  best  answers. 
They  were  perfectly  satisfied  with  me,  and  gave  me  a  con- 
siderable present.  The  secretary  paid  it  to  me.  I  do  not 
know  how  it  happened,  but  his  mask  fell  from  his  face. 
He  endeavoured  to  put  it  on  again  as  quickly  as  possible,  but 
I  already  had  seen  that  it  was — Biondello  1  The  accident 
seemed  to  operate  very  forcibly  upon  the  other  members. 
"  This  circumstance,"  said  they,  "  must  now  cost  the  poor 
Jew  his  life,  to  ensure  our  safety ;  for  in  such  cases  as 
these  we  cannot  depend  upon  honour." 

"Accursed  principle!"  I  thought,  as  the  sweat  poured 
down  my  forehead.  I  had  sufficient  resolution  left  to 
affect  not  to  understand  what  was  said ;  for  my  attention 
was,  to  all  appearance,  directed  to  the  money  I  had  re- 
ceived. I  heard  their  debates  with  apparent  indifference, 
although  they  became  so  violent  that  they  did  not  at  all 
regard  me.  The  question  was,  whether  they  should  mur- 
der me  or  not.  It  was  utterly  impossible  for  them  to 
understand  each  other,  the  tumult  was  so  great.  The  Ar- 
menian, who  had  remained  quiet  for  some  time,  now  gave 


THE    GHOST- SEEB.  131 

a  sign  with  his  hand,  and  there  ensued  immediately  a 
deadly  silence.  —  This  would  have  convinced  me,  had  I  not 
guessed  it  before,,  that  he  was  the  leader  of  this  secret  so- 
ciety. After  a  short  pause,  he  began :  — 

fe  To  provide  for  our  safety,  is  our  first  and  sacred  duty. 
To  maintain  it,  no  sacrifice  would  be  too  great;  but  I 
cannot  consent,  on  this  occasion,  to  put  a  man  to  death 
whose  services  have  been  so  essential  to  us.  —  I  might  say, 
and  with  justice,  that  it  would  militate  against  our  plans, 
and  destroy  that  which  we  have  so  carefully  cherished." 
He  paused — but  no  one  answered  him.  I  became  more 
composed.  He  proceeded.  "And  why  should  we  kill 
him  ? — because  he  saw  one"  (pointing  to  Biondello)  "un- 
masked ! —  Is  he  not  in  some  measure  a  party  concerned? 
and  would  it  be  possible  for  him,  were  this  not  the  case, 
in  the  city  of  Venice,  among  so  many  thousand  people,  to 
find  out  one  single  person,  whom  he  had  but  just  glanced 
upon  ?  —  I  moreover  maintain,  that  the  love  of  money, 
which  is  so  natural  to  his  nation,  prevented  his  taking  his 
eyes  from  the  table.  Our  mere  dress,  without  the  mask, 
is  sufficient  to  deceive  any  one  who  has  not  seen  us  in  our 
ordinary  habits." 

They  all  agreed  with  him.  Biondello  did  not,  perhaps, 
recollect  that  I  had  already  seen  and  spoken  to  him  in  the 
boat ;  at  least  he  would  not  mention  it ;  or  he  might,  per- 
haps, think  I  did  not  know  him  again.  But  to  be  certain 
of  the  fact,  the  Armenian  asked  me  if  I  should  be  able  to 
recognise  the  gentleman  again  whom  I  saw  a  few  minutes 
ago  unmasked  ?  He  put  the  question  to  me  in  such  an 
insinuating  manner,  that  many  would  have  answered  — 
ff  yes,"  to  give  an  idea  of  their  powers  for  discrimination; 
but  I  knew  too  well  how  the  business  stood.  I  therefore 
made  my  answers  accordingly.  I  affected  not  to  know  any 
thing  of  the  matter ;  and,  as  I  examined  the  money,  I  in- 
nocently asked,  what  they  particularly  wished  me  to  do  ? 
"  See,"  said  the  Armenian,  "  I  am  not  mistaken ;  he  has 
not  seen  him  !  —  He  seemed  to  me  too  stupid  to  be  a  hypo- 
crite, or  to  think  of  any  thing  but  what  leads  to  his 
interest." 

Several  of  the  others  made  the  same  observation  and 
i  2 


13£  THE    GHOST-SEEK. 

seemed  to  regret  that  they  had  not  chosen  a  cleverer  fellow 
to  transact  their  business.  "  Those  who  have  sent  him/' 
answered  the  Armenian,,  "were  prudent  enough  to  see, 
that  a  task  which  did  not  require  brilliant  talents  to  exe- 
cute,, would  have  been  faithfully  and  conscientiously  per- 
formed by  him  ;  and  indeed  there  is  not  so  much  treachery 
to  be  looked  for  in  men  that  only  know  what  they  see, 
as  in  many  others.  — "  Stupid  people  are  always  the  most 
honest/'  added  a  fat  gentleman  (who  probably  could  not 
boast  of  his  abilities),  and  laughed  at  this  impromptu  so 
much,  that  the  table,  on  which  his  belly  retesd,  was  very 
near  falling  down.  I  was  dismissed,  after  they  had  en- 
quired my  place  of  abode,  and  commanded  me  to  remain 
there  for  further  instructions.  They  conducted  me  again 
blindfolded  to  the  canal.  My  joy,  when  I  found  myself 
alone  and  safe,  I  need  not  describe;  but  the  dreadful 
words,  that  they  thought  my  death  the  only  means  of  se- 
curity, still  resounded  in  my  ears. 

A  whole  month  elapsed,  in  which  I  did  not  advance  a 
step  nearer  to  the  completion  of  my  purpose,  notwith- 
standing my  activity.  My  dress,  and  the  promise  which  I 
had  made  to  the  Armenian  (and  by  which  I  hoped  to 
make  some  important  discoveries),  became  now  the  greatest 
trouble  to  me;  for  it  prevented  me  from  instituting  those 
enquiries  which  were  necessary  to  aid  my  plans.  It  was 
impossible  for  me,  as  I  was  so  surrounded  by  spies,  to 
learn  any  thing  that  at  all  concerned  the  Prince  without 
the  greatest  hazard.  From  what  I  had  heard  and  seen  in 
the  secret  society,  I  could  only  conjecture  what  they  in- 
tended to  do  with  the  Prince;  but  it  was  impossible  for 
me,  an  individual,  to  destroy  the  fabric  which  was  built 
and  guarded  by  so  many. —  I  was  continually  reflecting 
upon  these  circumstances,  which  perplexed  me  very  much, 
My  sleep  also  was  interrupted  by  the  most  frightful  dreams, 
and  was  more  fatiguing  than  refreshing.  My  imagination 
often  pictured  to  me  the  Prince  falling  from  a  precipice. 
I  caught  him  by  his  cloak,  but  it  seemed  to  rend  into  a 
thousand  pieces,  and  I  saw  him  dashed  upon  the  ground. 
I  saw  him  struggling  in  a  rapid  stream ;  I  ran  to  his  as- 
sistance, and  was  drowned  \vith  him.  I  carried  him  from  a 


THE    GHOST-SEER.  133 

Conflagration,  and  believed  we  were  safe,  when  the  flames 
suddenly  surrounded  us,  and  we  were  consumed.  In  short, 
the  most  horrible  images,  which  my  disturbed  mind  created, 
totally  deprived  me  of  my  rest,  and,  I  must  confess,  my 
weakness  made  an  impression  upon  me  the  next  day  that 
was  not  easily  to  be  eradicated ;  although  1  had  very  little 
faith  in  dreams,* 

I  was  sitting  one  day  (it  was  in  the  beginning  of  Fe- 
bruary, 17 — )  in  my  room,  wrapt  in  reflection.  The 
weather  was  very  gloomy :  flakes  of  snow,  intermixed  with 
rain,  beat  against  my  window,  as  the  wind  howled  round 
the  house.  I  did  not  quit  my  room  the  whole  day.  A 
gentle  rap  at  the  door  at  last  roused  me  from  my  lethargy, 
and,  before  I  could  speak,  I  saw  a  man  standing  before  me 
with  a  show-box  upon  his  back.  He  asked  me  if  I  did  not 
choose  to  see  his  raree-show  ?  and  without  waiting  for  my 
answer,  he  set  his  apparatus  before  me.  To  get  rid  of  him 
quickly,  I  gave  him  a  piece  of  money,  accompanied  with  a 
polite  assurance  that  I  had  no  desire  to  see  his  raree-show. 
I  thought  he  would  depart  immediately,  but  I  was  very 
much  mistaken.  He  first  looked  at  me  and  then  at  the 
money.  At  last  he  said,  "  I  never  had  so  much  given  me 
before,"  and  returned  me  the  money.  "  You  must  have 
made  a  mistake  !"  I  started,  I  found  I  had  given  him,  in 
my  hurry,  a  small  gold  piece — certainly  too  great  a  present 
for  my  situation.  He  observed  my  embarrassment.  <(  Take 
the  money  back  again,"  said  he;  "  I  will  not  profit  by  your 
error." 

I  did  so ;  though  I  would  readily  have  given  it  to  him, 
through  the  fear  of  his  being  a  spy.  At  that  time  the 
smallest  circumstances  were  to  me  of  consequence,  and 
which  I  should  not  formerly  have  troubled  myself  about. — 
I  gave  him  a  smaller  piece.  He  thanked  me,  but  entreated 
me  very  much  to  look  into  his  box.  To  get  rid  of  him,  I 
was  obliged  to  comply  with  his  request.  He  opened  it,  and 
I  immediately  started  back  —  I  beheld  several  scenes  of  the 
Prince's  life  (which  could  be  known  only  to  a  very  few 

*  I  hope  that  no  one  of  my  readers  will  laugh  at  the  Count  O 's  weakness, 

which  he  himself  so  sincerely  confesses.  If  I  had  observed  this  beforehand,  I 
should  have  left  out  this  little  appendix,  though  I  made  it  my  duty  to  deliver 
every  thing  to  the  public  as  I  have  found  it.  —  EDITOR. 

i  3 


134  THE    GHOST-SEER. 

persons),  so  accurately  represented,  that  he  who  had  a 
knowledge  of  them  could  not  but  recollect  them.  I  looked 
significantly  at  the  man;  he  disregarded  me,  and  begged  of 
me  to  see  the  other.  —  My  astonishment  now  rose  to  the 
highest  degree.  I  saw  the  figure  of  a  Polish  Jew,  which 
exactly  resembled  me,  with  the  following  words  under  it: 

"  The  Count  O as  a  Polish  Jew."  —  I  lost  all  my 

patience.  In  an  angry  manner  I  pushed  the  box  from  me  ; 
—  ' '  Are  the  agents  of  hell  to  be  found  every  where  ?  "  I 
exclaimed,  and  stamped  upon  the  ground.  "  Not  every 
where,"  said  the  showman,  as  he  grasped  me  by  the  hand. 
"  Who  are  you  ?  "  I  cried,  starting  with  confusion.  "  Will 
you  desert  your  friend  ?  "  I  stood  for  a  moment  speechless. 
He  drew  a  handkerchief  from  his  pocket,  and  wiped  his 
face.  fe  Do  you  not  know  your  friend  Seymour  ?  " 

It  was  him.  My  joy  bordered  upon  frenzy.  At  a  time 
when  I  believed  myself  abandoned  by  all,  when  I  could  not 
even  whisper  my  sentiments,  for  fear  of  being  overheard 
and  discovered,  I  found  a  friend,  who  had  ever  deserved 
my  veneration  and  love.  No  one  that  has  not  been  in  the 
same  situation  can  possibly  have  an  idea  of  my  sensations. 
Every  misfortune  operated  upon  me  with  double  force, 
because  I  had  no  friend  to  whom  I  could  communicate  my 
sufferings.  Now  I  was  in  possession  of  that  valuable  trea- 
sure, and  pressed  him  with  affection  to  my  heart.  After 
the  first  burst  of  transport  was  over,  I  begged  of  him  to 
relate  to  me  the  cause  which  brought  him  hither,  and  what 
could  have  induced  him  to  leave  his  native  country?  — 
That  he  never  would  really  have  followed  the  trade  of  a 
showman,  was  very  clear  to  me. — "  I  wished,"  he  began, 
"  as  you  will  remember,  to  return  to  England.  I  travelled 
through  Paris ;  and  an  accident  obliged  me  to  make  a 
longer  stay  there  than  I  at  first  intended.  Several  un- 
foreseen events  reduced  my  finances,  and  I  was  obliged, 
until  new  remittances  arrived,  to  desist  from  pursuing  my 
journey.  In  the  mean  time,  I  resorted  to  all  the  public 
places  of  diversion.  I  went  one  evening  into  a  numerous 
society.  The  bottle  circulated  briskly,  and  the  conversation 
became  very  agreeable. — At  last  a  juggler  came  into  the 
room,  and  begged  to  entertain  us  with  his  tricks,  f  If  they 


THE    GHOST-SEER.  135 

are  worthy  to  be  -seen/  said  a  noble  spark,  f  the  society  will 
perhaps  indulge  you.' — '  To  prove  that  they  are,  I  will  show 
you  a  specimen,'  continued  he ;  '  and  let  your  own  judg- 
ment determine  whether  I  shall  proceed  or  not/  —  He 
performed  some  that  were  not  common,  and  which  excited 
our  admiration. 

"  The  society  unanimously  desired  him  to  go  on ;  and 
every  new  trick  he  produced  procured  him  fresh  applause. 
That  he  was  an  Englishman  I  immediately  perceived  by 
his  accent,  which  made  me  attentive  to  him.  It  seemed  to 
me,  that  his  features  were  not  unknown  to  me ;  but  I  could 
not  immediately  recollect  who  he  was.  Under  the  pretext 
that  I  wished  to  learn  some  of  his  tricks,  and  to  counte- 
nance a  countryman,  I  asked  him  to  call  on  me  next  morn- 
ing, and  to  take  his  breakfast  with  me.  He  came,  and  in  a 
little  time  I  discovered  that  I  had  been  intimately  ac- 
quainted with  him  from  a  boy.  His  name  was  Johnson. 
My  joy  on  this  occasion  was  equal  to  yours  when  you 
discovered  me.  I  had  been  educated  with  him.  His  father 
had  been  tutor  at  my  father's.  His  talents,  and  cheerful 
heart,  had  acquired  him  the  patronage  of  my  father,  and  he 
suffered  him  to  be  my  playfellow,  and  constant  companion. 
All  the  privileges  that  I  enjoyed  were  also  bestowed  upon 
him ;  he  was  instructed  by  the  same  masters,  and  dressed 
as  I  was.  I  could  not  show  in  my  whole  wardrobe  a  single 
thing  which  he  did  not  also  possess,  and  frequently,  I  ob- 
served, that  he  excelled  me.  Being  the  only  child,  the 
tender  love  of  my  mother  (who  was  dead)  had  somewhat 
spoiled  me;  and  I  very  often  told  the  servants,  haughtily, 
that  I  was  the  only  heir  to  a  large  fortune.  My  prudent 
father  employed  this  method,  to  show  me  distinctly  that 
from  merit  alone  our  character  must  be  estimated  j  and  he 
gained  his  point  by  that  means  sooner  than  he  would  have 
done  by  moralising.  I  was  at  first  angry  with  him,  and 
hated  Johnson  ;  but  this  did  not  last  long,  for,  on  account 
of  his  polite  and  good  conduct,  he  acquired  the  esteem  of 
the  whole  family ;  and,  by  his  sincere  love  for  me,  I  soon 
was  conscious  of  his  good  qualities.  We  became  the  best  of 
friends,  and  endeavoured  to  excel  each  other  in  affection. 
He  discovered  a  talent  for  mechanics.  As  I  did  not  suffer 


136  THE    GHOST-SEEK. 

him  to  eclipse  me  in  any  thing,  I  also  applied  myself  to  the 
art ;  but,,  by  his  superior  industry  and  perseverance,,  he 
soon  excelled  me  in  that  science :  I  also  was  not  so  much  in- 
terested with  it  as  himself.  My  father  let  us  want  for  no- 
thing. He  hired  masters  who  gave  us  the  best  instructions. 
Expensive  instruments  were  also  procured;  and  John- 
son soon  finished  a  variety  of  curious  things.  From  thence 
he  went  on  farther.  A  genius  like  his  was  not  satisfied 
with  continuing  in  a  beaten  tract ;  he  had  a  desire  always 
to  see  and  study  something  new.  Mathematics,  which  we 
had  often  read  with  our  tutor,  who  was  a  very  clever  and 
expert  man,  had  discovered  to  him  several  departments  of 
knowledge,  which  he  now  wished  to  acquire.  He  'made 
sun-dials,  he  manufactured  optical  glasses,  besides  electrical 
machines,  and  never  failed  to  execute  any  thing  that 
appeared  worthy  of  his  attention.  To  be  brief,  (for  I  see 
clearly  that  the  recollection  of  my  past  days,  and  the 
qualities  of  my  friend,  have  made  me  rather  too  loquacious,) 
he  became  soon  so  expert  and  ingenious,  that  he  often, 
although  a  boy  of  fourteen  years,  was  the  object  of  ad- 
miration ;  and,  on  that  account,  he  was  called  the  little 
Jack  of  all  trades.  He  went  on  thus  till  he  attained  his 
twenty-second  year,  when,  with  great  industry,  he  applied 
himself  to  chemistry ;  in  which  he  soon  made  many  new 
and  useful  discoveries.  About  that  time  my  father  died, 
and  he  lost  a  friend  who  had  never  let  him  want  for 
any  thing,  but  gratified  his  wishes  at  any  expense.  He 
now  determined  to  travel.  All  my  persuasions  to  detain 
him  were  fruitless.  He  stood  firm  to  his  intention,  and  I 
could  not  even  obtain  a  permission  to  travel  with  him.  He 
even  refused  the  considerable  legacy  which  my  father  had 
left  him.  At  that  I  became  angry,  for  I  willingly  would 
have  shared  with  him  my  whole  fortune,  which  he  knew 
perfectly  well ;  but  I  could  not  prevent  him  from  executing 
his  purpose.  He  would  not  even  accept  any  money  from 
me.  '  Well  then,  you  may  go,'  said  I,  and  embraced  him 
with  unfeigned  sorrow. 

"  It  is  impossible  for  me  to  discover  what  it  was  that 
induced  him  to  desert  the  man  who  had  acted  towards  him 
like  a  brother,  and  for  whom  he  had  the  greatest  regard.  — 


THE    GHOST-SEER.  137 

I  was  not  able  to  guess  it.  A  letter  which,  shortly  after 
his  departure,  I  received  from  him  has  discovered  it  to  me. 
After  a  long  apology  for  his  conduct,  he  says,  '  that  it  was 
impossible  for  him  to  live  any  longer  upon  the  bounty  of 
his  friends.'  He  considered  my  father's  generosity  as  an 
act  of  charity — but  it  was  a  wrong  idea.  He,  however, 
would  endeavour  to  support  himself.  The  death  of  my 
father  caused  him  to  reflect  upon  circumstances  that  never 
struck  him  before.  He  would  not  have  a  second  benefactor, 
that  he  might  not  miss  him ;  and  wished  not  to  expose  him- 
self to  the  danger  of  losing  his  support,  when  it  had  be- 
come impossible  for  him  to  exist  without  it.  And  if  even 
he  had  not  that  to  fear,  he  should  be  deficient  in  his  duty, 
if  he  expected  that  from  another  which  he  was  able  to  pro- 
cure for  himself.' — He  added  many  other  things ;  but  this 
is  sufficient  to  give  you  an  idea  of  a  man  who  will  soon 
acquire  your  esteem ;  of  one  who  rather  chose  to  wander 
in  the  world,  than  to  enjoy  that  rest  and  affluence  which  he 
could  not  procure  by  his  genius.  I  will  not  detain  you 
longer  with  his  history,  though  it  is  very  remarkable.  You 
will  be  more  pleased  if  you  hear  it  from  himself;  and  I  am 
confident  he  will  excite  your  admiration  and  respect.* 

"  The  days  which  we  spent  together  at  Paris  were  ex- 
ceedingly agreeable.  We  related  our  histories  to  each  other, 
which  indeed  afforded  a  great  fund  of  entertainment ;  for, 
since  I  received  that  letter,  I  had  not  either  seen  or  heard 
from  him.  He  said,  that  he  had  written  several  times  to 
me ;  but,  as  I  never  obtained  the  letters,  I  could  not  answer 
them.  I  related  to  him  the  events  which  happened  to  me 

at  Venice  with  the  Prince After  I  had  finished,  he 

suddenly  jumped  from  his  seat,  and  ran  up  and  down  the 
room,  as  if  influenced  by  some  extraordinary  idea.  f  We 
shall  save  him ! '  he  exclaimed.  '  What,  the  Prince  ? '  '  Yes, 
the  Prince ! '  he  replied  firmly.  f  How  will  that  be  pos- 
sible ? '  '  My  dear  friend  !  don't  reflect  upon  that  at  pre- 
sent ;  it  wants  but  one  desperate  attempt.  I  see  the  pos- 
sibility of  the  measure.  Judging  from  what  I  have  heard, 

*  He  has,  indeed,  afterwards  related  to  Count  O his  history,  which 

also  came  to  my  hands  with  these  papers.  It  is  very  remarkable  ;  and,  should 
I  again  have  any  leisure  time,  and  my  readers  have  a  desire  for  it,  I  will  publish 
it  SCHILLER. 


1S8  THE    GHOST-SEER. 

there  is  something  serious  at  the  bottom  of  these  tricks. 
Let  "us  destroy  the  plans  of  malice,  which  will  perhaps  be 
the  ruin  of  many  thousands,,  before  they  come  to  maturity.' 
'  Suppose  they  have  in  view  something  more  than  cheating 
him  of  his  money,  do  you  not  believe  that  many  are  at 
work,  and  that  resistance  would  be  madness  ? '  '  Undoubt- 
edly, open  resistance — but  let  us  work  against  them  where 
they  do  not  suspect  us,  and  in  a  way  of  which  they  cannot 
perceive  the  machinery,  but  only  experience  the  effect  of  its 
operation.  This,  my  friend,  we  certainly  are  able  to  under- 
take. I  am  too  well  acquainted  with  the  deceitful  tricks  in 
this  world  which  are  published  as  wonders ;  and  if  I  can 
do  nothing  more  than  merely  chase  away  the  mist  from  the 
eyes  of  the  Prince,  I  may,  perhaps,  save  him  from  being 
enveloped  in  their  diabolical  snares.' 

"  This  proposition  was  so  noble,  that,  although  it  may 
prove  fruitless,  I  consented  to  it.  When  my  remittances 
arrived,  we  made  the  best  of  our  way  to  Italy.  A  trifling 
indisposition,  which  affected  my  friend,  retarded  our  jour- 
ney for  a  little  time.  Johnson  requested  I  would  dismiss 
my  servants,  and  retain  only  one  single  footman,  who  was 
sufficiently  faithful  and  prudent  not  to  discover  any  of  our 
plans.  Johnson  disguised  himself  and  us  so  that  we  were 
quite  unknown ;  a  precaution  which  was  very  necessary. — 
He  also  observed,  that  in  our  mean  dress  we  should  be  able 
to  make  more  observations  than  otherwise ;  for  he  main- 
tained, that  they  were  less  suspicious  of  the  poor  than  the 
great.  We  took  lodgings  separately,  at  different  inns,  to 
have  a  more  ample  field  for  the  execution  of  our  plans  j  we 
even  went  so  far  as  to  have  several  lodging-houses,  in  which 
we  alternately  resided,  having  first  changed  our  dresses,  and 
concealed  our  country;  for  we  all  spoke  different  languages 

with  equal  promptitude.     By  that  means,  dear  O ,  I 

succeeded  in  discovering  you,  notwithstanding  your  dis- 
guise." (e  But  how  was  that  possible  ?  "  said  I,  interrupting 
him.  "  You  betrayed  yourself,"  he  replied :  "  I  lodged  in 
the  same  inn  that  you  did,  and,  by  accident,  was  put  into 
the  room  over  yours.  If  I  awoke  in  the  night,  I  constantly 
heard  some  one  speaking  in  your  chamber.  This  made  me 
attentive.  I  laid  myself  upon  the  floor  of  the  room,  and 


THE    GHOST-SEER.  139 

overheard,  through  a  crack,  all  that  you  said.  I  soon  per- 
ceived that  you  were  talking  in  your  sleep.  You  must 
have  been  disturbed  very  much  by  frightful  dreams,  for 
your  exclamations  wery  generally — Murder  !  Despair!  Pe- 
rish! Down!  Down! — Several  times  I  heard  you  mention 
the  name  of  the  Prince ;  and  this  induced  me  to  presume 
that  you  were  the  man  whom  I  had  such  a  great  desire  to 
see.  I  overheard  you  for  several  nights,  and  was  at  last 
confirmed  in  my  opinion ;  for  you  spoke  of  things  which 
no  other  person  but  yourself  could  possibly  know.  ( Has  he 
not  similar  views  with  us,'  said  I ;  '  knowing,  as  I  do,  that 
he  was  such  a  trusty  friend  of  the  Prince,  and  loved  him 
so  much?  Is  he  not  endeavouring  to  be  useful  to  the 
Prince  in  that  disguise  j  because  he  has  rendered  it  impos- 
sible, by  undeserved  treatment,  to  appear  in  his  true  form.'" 

"  What  \ "  exclaimed  I,  full  of  admiration  —  "  You  have 
been  told,  then,  how  the  Prince  has  treated  me  ?  " — "  More 
than  that,"  he  answered.  "  You  shall  soon  be  convinced 
from  Johnson's  letters,  which  I  will  communicate  to  you 
hereafter.  However,  I  did  not  think  proper  to  discover 
myself  to  you,  as  Lord  Seymour,  until  I  was  fully  convinced 
of  the  fact.  I  was  suspicious,  although  it  was  improbable, 
that  you  were  a  spy  in  that  disguise  for  the  purpose  of  be- 
traying me :  I  was,  therefore,  obliged  to  act  with  the 
greatest  precaution.  For  that  reason  I  appeared  in  the 
character  of  a  showman.  I  had  drawn,  some  time  back, 
for  my  amusement,  those  scenes  which  I  displayed  to  you, 
and  it  immediately  struck  me  that  they  would  be  useful  to 
me  in  this  instance.  Lest  I  should  be  deceived,  which 
must  have  appeared  in  your  conduct,  I  kept  back  your  por- 
trait until  the  last,  which  instantly  gave  me  to  understand 
that  I  was  not  wrong  in  my  conjectures. 

' e  It  was  some  time,"  continued  Lord  Seymour,  ' '  before 
Johnson  and  I  were  able  to  accomplish  any  of  our  plans, 
in  spite  of  the  greatest  exertions.  Every  evening  we  met 
together,  and  communicated  to  each  other  our  discoveries, 
and  planned  what  measures  we  were  to  take  in  future.  But, 
although  we  thought  ourselves  adepts  at  invention,  we 
never  could,  by  any  stratagem,  approach  the  Prince.  f  A 
good  idea  must  be  executed,  though  it  may  be  founded  on 


140  THE    GHOST-SEER. 

a  bad  principle/  said  Johnson,  '  or  all  our  undertakings  will 
avail  nothing,  and  our  assistance  probably  arrive  too  late.' 
For  that  reason  he  wrote  a  note  to  the  Prince,  in  which  he 
invited  him  to  appear  alone,  at  the  dead  of  the  night,  in  a 
certain  solitary  place.  He  conveyed  it,  unperceived,  into 
the  Prince's  pocket.  He  had  written  it  so  artfully,  that  the 
Prince,  no  doubt,  presumed  it  came  from  the  Armenian. 
The  desire  he  had  to  be  farther  acquainted  with  this  mys- 
terious being,  from  whom  he  had  heard  nothing  for  some 
time,  made  us  certain  that  he  would  not  refuse  this  invita- 
tion. We  were  not  deceived ;  he  came.  We  hired  two 
fellows  to  attack  him,  and  came  past  as  it  were  by  accident. 
Johnson  was  to  run  to  his  assistance.  For  appearance-sake, 
he  struggled  with  them,  until  they  ran  away  at  a  noise 
made  by  myself  and  Matthias.  Johnson  conducted  the 
Prince  home,  and  we  went,  as  quick  as  possible,  to  our 
lodging.* 

"  The  success  of  this  event  you  will  find  in  Johnson's 
letters  to  me.  They  were  sent,  to  avoid  all  intercourse 
with  him,  by  a  faithful  waterman,  to  whom  Johnson  de- 
livered them  for  me ;  and  by  that  means  he  also  obtained 
my  answers." 

And  those  letters  I  will  communicate  to  the  reader  from 
Lord  Seymour,  from  a  French  translation,  which  he  made 
at  my  request,  as  I  did  not  understand  the  English  lan- 
guage. I  have  only  omitted  that  which  the  public  is  already 
acquainted  with  from  the  preceding  pages.  Here  the 
thread  will  be  again  united,  which  the  death  of  my  friend 


Johnson  to  Lord  Seymour. 

September  17,** 

I  am  not  able  to  recover  myself  from  what  I  may  justly 
call  my  extravagant  happiness.  Friend,  rejoice  with  me 
— fill  has  succeeded  to  my  utmost  wishes,  and  I  look  for- 
ward with  pleasure  to  the  time  when  the  Prince  will  be 
freed  from  his  enemies.  My  whole  plan  is  fixed  upon ;  and 
although  every  thing  appears  in  confusion,  I  hope,  how- 

*  I  have  omitted  inserting  this  event  before,  which  my  friend  the  Baron  F-— , 
in  his  relation,  has  slightly  mentioned,  because  I  thought  this  the  best  place 
for  it.  COIWIT  O . 


THE    GHOST-SEER.  141 

ever,  that  time  will  produce  the  desired  effect.  I  pity  the 
Prince  from  my  heart.  I  soon  discovered  how  he  was 
situated.  He  has  a  good  understanding,  and  an  excellent 
heart ;  and  shame  to  them  who  have  so  industriously  la- 
boured to  spoil  both.  But  why  do  I  communicate  to  you 
things  which  you  know  already  better  than  myself?  You 
may  judge  of  the  degree  in  which  my  happiness  made  me 
quite  absent.  I  shall  be  obliged  to  act  with  more  caution 
in  future.  My  plans  were  on  the  point  of  being  destroyed ; 
for  Biondello  came  suddenly  into  my  room  as  I  was  writ- 
ing. It  was  fortunate  that  I  heard  him  approaching :  I 
had  just  time  enough  to  secrete  all  my  papers,  and  walk 
with  indifference  towards  the  window.  He  did  not  seem 
to  take  any  notice  of  me,  but  took  his  hat  and  cloak  and 
went  out,  probably  upon  some  of  the  Prince's  errands.  But 
I  will  now  tell  you  every  thing  that  appears  to  me  of  con- 
sequence, that  I  may  not  again  be  interrupted  ;  it  would  be 
impossible  for  me  to  connect  my  whole  train  of  thoughts. 

I  conducted  the  Prince  home,  as  you  already  know, 
under  the  pretext  of  protecting  him.  He  permitted  me  to 
do  it  without  hesitation ;  for  he  did  not  seem  to  have  re- 
covered from  his  fright,  into  which  the  circumstance  of 
meeting  two  ruffians,  instead  of  the  Armenian,  had  thrown 
him.  He  did  not  speak  until  we  entered  his  room.  He 
then  introduced  me  to  one  of  his  barons  and  Biondello,  who 
were  in  the  same  room,  as  the  saviour  of  his  life.  He 
thanked  me  heartily,  and  told  me  to  ask  of  him  any  favour. 
—  I  considered  for  some  time,  and  at  last  told  him,  that  he 
would  show  me  the  highest  mark  of  friendship  if  he  would 
keep  me  in  his  service ;  for  I  had  some  time  ago  lost  my 
master,  and  had  endeavoured  in  vain  to  get  a  new  one.  I 
gave  myself  out  for  an  Englishman  of  a  good  family ;  I  told 
him  that  my  eldest  brother,  during  my  minority,  spent  my 
fortune,  and  forced  me  to  the  necessity  of  seeking  for  sub- 
sistence in  the  humiliating  capacity  of  a  servant.  By  the 
last  part  of  my  story,  I  hoped  to  excite  his  pity  towards 
me ;  for  I  am  confident  that  we  feel  always  more  compas- 
sion for  those  who  are  reduced  from  affluence  to  poverty, 
than  for  such  as  from  their  birth  are  accustomed  to  servi- 
tude. If  he  sympathised  with  me,  I  could  very  soon 


142  THE    GHOST-SEER. 

claim  his  confidence.  In  that  point  I  succeeded  to  my 
satisfaction  in  a  short  time.  But  what  I  am  rejoiced  at 
most  is,  that  he  has  made  me  his  chamberlain ;  in  which 
situation  I  shall  often  have  an  opportunity  of  being  alone 
with  him.  He  would  not,  he  said,  degrade  the  saviour  of 
his  life  by  a  livery ;  and  regretted  only  that  it  was  not  at 
present  entirely  in  his  power  to  make  me  independent  of 
the  world. 

As  chamberlain,  I  am  to  have  a  small  room  to  myself; 
but  this  is  not  yet  quite  ready.  Biondello  has  permitted 
me,  for  that  time,  to  make  use  of  his.  He  is  very  friendly 
towards  me ;  and,  although  I  acknowledge  his  civility  for 
appearance-sake,  yet  I  do  not  trust  him ;  for  he  has  so 
much  flattery  and  cunning  about  him,  that  I  fear  he  has 
very  little  honesty  left. 

Several  days  after.  —  Thank  God,  I  am  in  possession  of 
my  little  room,  and  begin  to  write  to  you  again,  which  was 
till  now  impossible  for  me  to  do,  Biondello  watched  me  so 
narrowly.  I  must  not  attribute  that  to  the  Prince,  because 
he  is  never  mistrustful.  Yet  I  will  not  judge  harshly.  I 
have  not  yet  conversed  with  the  Prince ;  but  as  my  clothes 
are  not  come  from  the  tailor's,  I  will  ascribe  it  to  that  cir- 
cumstance ;  but  if  when  I  am  equipped  he  shuns  me,  I 
must  conclude  that  there  is  something  more  at  the  bottom 
of  it. 

One  day  later. — This  morning,  early,  I  obtained  at  last 
my  dress ;  and  you  are  not  able  to  imagine  with  what  ap- 
parent rapture  I  put  it  on.  Biondello  was  present,  and 
gave  me  joy,  on  my  exchanging  my  old  clothes  for  such 
rich  ones.  But  whilst  I  rejoiced  to  think  how  I  had  suc- 
ceeded, he  believed  it  arose  from  a  childish  love  of  finery, 
and  this,  I  have  no  doubt,  made  him  assure  me  that  they 
fitted  me  extremely  well.  I  let  him  enjoy  his  error,  and 
to  confirm  his  opinion,  I  took  every  part  into  my  hands, 
and  contemplated  it  with  a  foolish  pride,  smiled  at  myself 
in  the  glass,  and  neglected  nothing  that  could  convey  to  him 
the  idea  of  my  being  a  stupid  clown.  To  make  the  joke 
complete,  I  told  him  that  I  intended  now  to  take  a  walk, 
to  show  myself  to  the  people,  which  I  had  not  courage  to 
do  in  my  old  coat.  I  intend,  by  that  manoeuvre.,  to  send 


THE    GHOST-SEER. 


143 


you  my  first  letter  ;  and  I  am  sorry  if  you  have  been  at  all 
embarrassed  on  my  account. 

.  The  same  to  the  same. 

October  1. 

Biondello  is  the  most  cunning  fox  in  the  world ;  but  I 
have,  in  spite  of  his  ingenuity,  deceived  him.  By  the 
confidence  which  he  seems  to  put  in  me,  he  watches  me 
so  closely,  that  if  I  had  not  taken  great  care  I  should  cer- 
tainly have  betrayed  myself;  but  I  have  at  last  made  him 
believe  that  I  am  a  perfect,  unsuspecting  blockhead ;  and 
indeed  it  is  the  opinion  that  I  wish  him  to  have  of  me,  in 
my  present  situation.  He  studied  to  find  out  in  me  more 
than  I  chose  to  let  him  know ;  and  the  trouble  he  gave 
himself  to  accomplish  this,  is  a  sure  proof  that  in  him  there 
is  something  more  than  the  mere  secretary  of  the  Prince. 
The  Prince  has  a  very  high  opinion  of  him.  He  does  not 
consider  him  as  his  servant,  but  his  trusty  friend.  I  pre- 
tended not  to  understand  a  word  of  the  Venetian  language 
(and  Biondello  thinks  he  is  quite  sure  of  it,  for  he  has  tried 
many  experiments  to  prove  the  fact),  and  all  those  who  do 
not  speak  English  I  converse  with  in  French  ;  they  are 
not  at  all  suspicious  of  me,  but  often  talk  about  things  when 
I  am  present,  which,  if  they  knew  I  understood  them,  they 
would  certainly  conceal  from  me.  As  they  look  upon  me 
to  be  of  no  consequence  in  opposition  to  their  schemes,  and 
the  Prince  likes  me  to  be  about  his  person,  I  now  constantly 
attend  him;  and  he  enjoys  the  advantage,  as  he  supposes, 
of  not  being  obliged  to  send  me  out  of  the  room  if  he  is 
conversing  with  any  one,  which  he  is  always  obliged  to 
do  with  his  other  servants,  as  they  understand  the  lan- 
guage. 

Last  night,  as  I  was  undressing  him  in  his  room,  Bion- 
dello was  present.  After  conversing  upon  some  indifferent 
topics,  they  began  about  me.  Biondello  thought  my  qua- 
lities were  stupidity,  sincerity,  and  honesty.  The  Prince 
said  that  he  was  pleased  with  my  person,  and  thought  the 
qualities  Biondello  spoke  of  were  better  than?good  intellects 
united  with  a  bad  heart.  "  He  is  also  courageous,"  said 
he ;  (f  and  to  that  I  owe  my  life,  at  least  my  freedom." — 


144-  THE    GHOST-SEER. 

Biondello  understood  this  hint.  He  altered  his  'tone 
immediately ;  for,  at  first,  he  was  very  satirical.  He  might 
have  forgotten  himself.  He  now  talked  a  great  deal  about 
me,  and  said  many  handsome  things  of  me  to  flatter  the 
Prince.  From  that  they  turned  to  the  subject  of  the  attack 
made  upon  the  Prince,  and  cracked  their  brains  for  a  long 
time  to  discover  the  person  who  hired  the  bravos  to  murder 
him.  That  the  note  did  not  come  from  the  Armenian, 
Biondello  maintained;  for  it  was  not  likely  that,  if  he  meant 
to  attempt  the  Prince's  life,  he  would  execute  his  plans 
with  such  temerity.  The  Prince  agreed  with  him;  and 
the  only  doubt  then  remaining  was,  who  could  possibly 
have  views  upon  his  person,  if  it  was  not  him,  who  had 
already  given  him  to  understand  so.  Biondello  pointed  out 
to  him  the  possibility  that  his  own  court  had  done  it,  to  lay 
hold  of  him.  It  immediately  struck  the  Prince  so  forcibly, 
that  he  broke  out  into  a  most  violent  passion.  It  is  true 
all  circumstances  united  serve  to  strengthen  this  suppo- 
sition ;  for  I  learned,  by  the  conversation,  that  the  Prince 
had  lately  received  a  very  rigorous  letter  from  thence ;  and 
Biondello  reminded  him  of  the  conversation  which  passed  at 
St.  George.  This  circumstance  apparently  confirmed  the 
fact  in  the  Prince's  mind.  His  expressions  I  will  not  re- 
peat here.  I  do  not  know  if  I  am  wrong,  but  it  seemed  to 
me  as  if  Biondello  was  pleased  with  the  idea,  that  the 
Prince  despised  his  court :  for  he  knew  the  kind  of  language 
that  would  increase  the  Prince's  anger,  without  letting  him 
suspect  his  cunning.  This  man  possesses  dexterity  suffi- 
cient to  guide  any  person  where  he  pleases,  without  his 
being  able  to  perceive  the  thread  with  which  he  leads  him. 
He  sometimes  appears  quite  different  to  that  which  you 
would  suspect.  Towards  me  he  did  not  always  act  with 
such  precaution ;  for  that  reason  I  discovered  more  of  his 
character  than  I  otherwise  could  have  done.  He  had  strict 
orders  from  that  hour  to  have  his  wits  about  him,  and  also 

to  intercept  the  letters  of  Baron  F (a  cavalier  of  the 

Prince's  household)  to  Count  O ,  to  see  if  they  would 

lead  to  any  thing  satisfactory.     "  For/'  added  the  Prince, 

"  this  F seemed  some  time  back  dissatisfied  with  my 

continuing  here." 


THE    GHOST-SEER. 


145 


What  this  will  lead  to  I  am  not  able  to  see  at  present. 

I  wish  I  could  but  give  a  hint  to  Baron  F to  be  upon 

his  guard  ;  for  if  Biondello  conspires  against  him,  he  must 
fall  a  sacrifice  to  his  plans. 

Several  days  after.  —  Biondello  every  day  puts  more  and 
more  confidence  in  me,  and  it  is,  in  all  probability,  be- 
cause I  communicate  to  him,  with  the  greatest  accuracy, 
all  that  I  hear  and  see ;  but  you'll  understand,  I  tell  him 
only  those  things  which  he  ought  to  know. — I  seem  to 
keep  no  secret  from  him.  He  often  listens  with  the  great- 
est patience  to  the  ridiculous  nonsense  with  which  I  en- 
deavour to  entertain  him ;  and  he  generally  compliments 
me  upon  my  talents  and  good  conduct  in  trusting  to  him 
with  such  sincerity.  Indeed,  the  method  I  have  taken  is 
the  best  way  to  ensure  his  countenance.  But  he  is  mis- 
taken in  my  character,  notwithstanding  the  accurate  know- 
ledge he  possesses  of  mankind.  In  every  conversation  I 
distinguish  more  and  more  what  an  opinion  he  has  of  me ; 
indeed  he  begins  to  give  me  little  commissions,  but  which 
at  present  do  not  consist  of  any  thing  farther  than  to  have 
a  watchful  eye,  in  his  absence,  upon  the  Prince's  conduct, 
and  to  communicate  to  him  all  that  I  have  perceived  and 
heard.  And,  to  enable  me  to  do  this  effectually,  he  takes 
care  that  every  little  new  trait  in  my  character  is  reported 
in  a  favourable  manner  to  the  Prince,  who  becomes  every 
day  more  and  more  attached  to  me,  and  prefers  me  to  all 
his  other  servants ;  indeed  he  has  of  late  appeared  very 
suspicious  of  them,  which  is,  in  all  probability,  a  con- 
trivance of  Biondello,  in  whom  he  puts  the  most  un- 
limited confidence.  That  I  should  succeed  so  well,  and 
in  so  short  a  time,  I  did  not  imagine ;  it  exceeds  my  most 
sanguine  expectations.  I  will  set  it  down  as  one  of  my 
great  masterpieces  of  art,  if  I  am  able  to  outwit  this 
Biondello. 

A  certain  Marquis,  by  name  Civitella,  has  just  left  the 
Prince.  I  have  often  seen  him  here.  I  question  whether 
he  seeks  any  thing  beyond  the  honour  of  the  Prince's 
friendship.  They  seem  very  intimately  acquainted,  and 
indeed  I  cannot  blame  the  Prince  for  that;  for  this  Mar- 
quis has  many  good  qualities,  and  seems  to  study  to  dis- 

VOL.  I.  K 


146  THE    GHOST-SEER. 

play  them  to  advantage  in  the  presence  of  the  Prince 
However,  I  have  heard  the  Prince  many  times  promise  to 
pay  him  money ;  and,  from  what  I  could  collect,  it  is  not 
a  small  sum.  —  Then  the  Prince  is  in  deht  —  it  cannot  be 
otherwise,  from  his  present  extravagance.  —  But  how  are  his 
debts  to  be  paid,  when  I  know,  for  certain,  that  he  receives 
nothing  from  his  court  ?  Is  not  this  a  diabolical  plan  of 
the  Armenian,  to  detain  him,  and  succeed  in  his  designs 
upon  him  ?  I  advise  you,  friend,  to  provide  yourself  with 
money,  which  may  be  had  immediately  upon  your  orders. 
I  leave  it  entirely  to  your  prudence,  how  you  will  accom- 
plish this  necessary  object  without  betraying  yourself. 

I  must  tell  you  of  a  discovery  which  I  have  just  made, 
and  which  I  think  of  consequence:  —  The  Prince  generally 
goes  out  towards  evening,  and  this  happens  very  often; 
and,  to-day  I  hear,  he  belongs  to  a  certain  society,  called 
the  Bucentauro.  Could  you  not  learn  something  about 
this  sect ;  and  whether  we  must  also  direct  our  attention 
to  that  ?  He  was  scarcely  gone,  when  I  hastened  to  my 
room  to  write  to  you.  I  had  just  finished  the  last  line 
as  Biondello  came  in.  I  must  tell  you  that  he  does  not 
suspect  any  thing  when  he  finds  me  engaged  in  writing. 
I  have  told  him  that  I  have  a  great  delight  in  making 
verses,  and  on  that  account  I  have  always  a  poem  lying  at 
my  side,  which,  as  soon  as  I  hear  any  person  coming, 
I  put  in  tne  place  of  the  letter ;  and,  to  play  my  part  well, 
I  affect  to  translate  it  to  him  (for  he  does  not  understand 
English),  and  repeat  the  most  stupid  nonsense  with  a  kind 
of  poetic  mania.  This  time  he  had  not  a  desire  to  hear 
my  poetry,  but  entreated  me  to  defer  reading  it  to  a  future 
opportunity,  and  go  with  him  to  his  room ;  so  that  he 
might  be  present  when  the  Prince  arrived.  This  I  did, 
and  I  was  obliged  to  report  to  him  all  that  had  happened 
to  the  Prince  during  his  absence.  When  we  were  in  the 
height  of  our  conversation,  there  came  into  the  room  an 
old  man.  He  was  bent  low  beneath  his  years  ;  but  there 
was  an  expression  in  his  countenance  which  ill  accorded 
with  his  age.  His  voice  also  was  full  and  regular,  and 
he  had  not  that  trembling  pronunciation  which  generally 
tffects  aged  people.  Biondello  told  me  that  he  was  his 


THE    GHOST-SEER.  14? 

relation.  I  was  going  to  absent  myself,  but  he  entreated 
me  to  stay ;  as  his  cousin,  he  said,  did  not  understand  any 
other  language  than  the  Venetian,  and  as,  besides,  he  had 
nothing  of  consequence  to  communicate  to  him.  The  old 
man  looked  at  me  with  suspicion,  but  I  busied  myself 
with  a  book,  and  took  no  notice  of  him.  "  Do  you  know 
for  certain  that  he  does  not  understand  us  ? "  said  he. 
"  Are  you  sure  that  he  is  not  an  impostor?" 

Biondello  told  him  he  need  not  be  under  any  apprehen- 
sion.— He  described  my  character  to  him,  and  said,  that 
in  spite  of  my  stupidity  he  could  make  me  of  service  to 
him.  "  I  will  believe  you,"  he  exclaimed,  "  for  I  am 
acquainted  with  your  talent  in  the  knowledge  of  mankind, 
and  which  makes  you  worthy  of  your  dangerous  employ- 
ment. The  greater  part  of  the  fabric,  which  I  have 
curiously  raised,  rests  upon  your  shoulders.  Do  not  loose, 
for  heaven's  sake,  at  the  moment  of  its  accomplishment, 
that  firmness  which  will  prevent  our  being  buried  in  the 
ruins.  I  know  your  caution  and  foresight  are  very  great. 
Think  also  on  the  reward  you  will  gain,  when  we  behold 

your  giant  work  completed.  I  expect  letters  from  , 

and  we  are  then  at  the  summit  of  our  wishes;  for  the 
Prince  will  not  make  any  resistance." 

"  The  journey  then,  which  you  undertook,  has  been  of 
great  service  ?  "  ' '  Is  there  any  thing  impossible  ?  Had 
I  not  found  great  difficulty  in  persuading  the  court  of 
— d —  to  agree  in  our  plans,  the  mountains,  which  now 
appear  before  us,  should  long  ago  have  disappeared.  I 
did  not  mistrust  you,  believe  me.  Though  it  were  so, 
I  should  forgive  you ;  for  how  could  you  be  able  to  pene- 
trate into  my  schemes  ?  —  You  believed  that  many  things 
were  the  effect  of  chance,  which  I  contrived  and  put  into 
execution.  —  Can  you  suppose  that  the  Prince  of  — d — 
came  to  Venice  for  nothing  ? "  "  No  one  can  possibly 
imagine  what  steps  your  prudence  takes."  "  You  must 
know  then  that  he  came  hither  at  my  request,  to  entice 
our  Prince  to  a  licentious  manner  of  living,  and  to  bring 
him,  by  that  means,  nearer  to  the  point  on  which  my  plans 
are  centred."  te  Pardon  me,  when  you  could  so  easily 
BL  2 


148  THE    GHOST-SEER. 

have  communicated  with  the  court  upon  the  conduct  of 
the  Prince,,  why  was  that  journey  necessary  ?  " 

"  Is  it  not  easier  to  remove  a  prince  from  the  place 
where  it  is  likely  his  penetrating  eyes  would  have  pried 
into  our  designs,  than  to  make  thousands  privy  to  our 
plans  ?  I  had  only  to  write  to  the  Prince  to  come.,  for  we 
liad  settled  it  some  time  ago.  —  I  knew  he  was  a  member 

of  the  order  of .     I  am  one  of  them.     I  wrote  to  the 

superiors  of  the  order,  and  they  contrived  to  send  messages 
to  him,  which  made  him  believe  he  was  invited  to  see  the 
internal  part  of  the  sanctuary."  "  I  am  astonished  !  As 
often  as  I  see  you,  you  always  appear  to  me  in  a  new  and 
extraordinary  character."  <e  Hear  then  farther.  The  second 

step  was  not  difficult  for  me  to  take.     The  Count  P 

is  first  minister  at  the  court  of  — d — .     For  appearance 

sake,  the  feeble  King  wears  the  crown,  but  P governs : 

he  is  the  machine  by  which  every  thing  is  regulated.    This 

P has  long  been  my  friend.     I  was  acquainted  with 

him  whilst  he  was  ambassador  at  Rome,  and  I  proposed 

him  for  a  member  of  the  order  of .     At  that  time 

the  sketch  of  the  plan,  which  we  are  now  about  to  execute, 
was  shown  to  him,  and  which  was  always  the  same,  al- 
though accident  has  changed  the  persons  by  whom  it  was 
to  have  been  accomplished.  I  wrote  to  him  that  every 
thing  was  ready,  and  we  waited  for  him  only  to  complete 
it.  Nothing  was  easier  for  him  than  to  persuade  his  ava- 
ricious monarch  to  let  out  his  troops  to  conquer ,  to 

which  his  council  had  long  before  directed  their  attention. 

P met  me  at  — i —  to  bring  me  the  happy  account 

of  his  success ;  and  the  King  suspected  that  he  was  gone  to 
conclude  a  promised  alliance." 

"  Do  I  dream  ?  Is  it  possible  to  play  thus  with  kings?" 
replied  Biondello.  "  I  did  not  expect  such  a  question 
from  you,"  said  the  old  man.  "  Do  you  not  know,  that  one 
may  deceive  kings  much  easier  than  other  people ;  because 
flattery  succeeds  to  a  miracle  with  them  ;  spreading,  as  it 
were,  a  mist  before  their  eyes  ?  And  if  they  are  prudent 
enough  to  disregard  that  illusion,  we  must  then  give  them 
amusements  to  which  they  are  attached,  and  never  deprive 
them  of  any  thing,  but  what  relates  to  state  affairs,  for  fear 


THE    GHOST-SEER.  149 

of  incurring  their  displeasure."*  "And  does  not  the 
King  of  — d —  know  for  what  purpose  he  lends  his 
powers?"  "  Is  the  architect  obliged  to  explain  his  whole 
design  to  a  mason,  who  is  employed  to  place  stones  and  ex- 
ecute the  work,,  which  probably  he  would  not  even  then 
understand  ?  He  works  for  his  daily  bread,  and  if  he  ob- 
tains that,  he  is  satisfied.  Can  the  King  of  — d —  desire 
more  than  the  acquisition  of  .,  which  must  be  of  great 
value  to  him,  as  it  is  immediately  connected  with  his  own 
territories  ?  It  is  the  object  which  he  sets  his  heart  upon. 
However,  to  satisfy  your  curiosity  would  take  up  that  time 
in  which  I  hope  to  hear  more  important  accounts  of  the 
Prince." 

Biondello  replied  :  cc  Every  thing  is  in  the  same  state  as 
when  you  left  us ;  and  I  have  only  here  and  there  added  a 
little  where  it  seemed  necessary."  Here  Biondello  related 
to  him  the  event  of  that  evening  in  which  the  Prince  was 
attacked,  and  concluded  with  saying,  that  he  had  made  use 
of  that  circumstance  to  enrage  the  Prince  more  against  his 
court ;  for  he  made  him  believe,  it  was  certain  that  the 
court  intended  to  imprison  him.  The  old  man  seemed 
satisfied  with  that,  and  immediately  replied,  Cf  How  is  he  as 
to  his  manner  of  thinking  ?  "  "  He  approaches  more  and 
more  to  a  freethinker,"  replied  Biondello ;  "and  I  am  con- 
fident but  little  is  wanting  to  render  him  such  entirely." 
"  Then,"  said  the  old  man,  "  my  machines  act  as  suc- 
cessfully as  I  can  wish."  f(  How !  was  this  also  your 
work  ?  Will  a  freethinker  believe  in  apparitions  ?  Will 
he  bend  his  neck  to  the  yoke  of  a  religion  which  puts  re- 
straint on  him,  and  which  it  is  your  opinion  he  will  accept  ?  " 

"  I  see  you  are  very  little  acquainted  -with  the  human 
heart.  To  shake  a  belief,  which  fundamentally  rests  upon 
conviction,  is  very  difficult ;  but  to  guide  the  opinion  of  a 
sceptic  is  sufficiently  easy.  This  may  seem  a  paradox,  but 
I  will  prove  it  to  you:  —  Man — let  him  wear  a  crown,  or 

*  I  have  written  every  thing  down  as  I  found  it,  and  I  do  not  know  how  far 
this  may  be  true.  But,  if  I  may  speak  my  opinion,  it  does  not  appear  to  me 
quite  certain ;  for  I  have  seen  in  my  life  hut  one  king,  and  he  seemed  to  me 

so  full  of  wisdom  and  majesty,  (probably  the  old  King  of  P ,  Fr.  II.)  that 

I  would  have  sworn  that  his  very  looks  would  have  awed  those  that  dared  to 
insult  him. 

K    3 


1 50  THE    GHOST-SEER. 

the  rags  of  a  beggar  —  wants  always  a  support  in  trying 
circumstances ;  and  if  he  despairs  at  all,  he  sighs  after 
comfort  with  double  anxiety.  And  what  offers  to  him  the 
wished  for  consolation  but  religion  ?  Hence,  it  is  evident, 
that  the  religions  of  those  nations  who  are  still,  as  it  may 
be  said,  in  a  state  of  ignorance,  have  infinitely  more  cere- 
monies than  those  that  are  enlightened.  The  Prince  rejected 
this  support,  and  launched  boldly  into  the  gulf  of  so- 
phistry. The  more  he  meditates  upon  it,  the  more  it  will 
perplex  him.  As  he  sinks  beneath  enquiry,  he  will  greedily 
devour  any  new  idea  that  tends  to  dissipate  the  former. 
And  is  not  the  Catholic  religion,  in  which  there  are  so  many 
saints  that  he  cannot  doubt  his  preservation,  exactly  cal- 
culated for  the  purpose  ?" 

"  How !  Do  I  hear  right  ?  Did  you  not  extol  the  prin- 
ciples of  doubt,  and  yet  you  called  scepticism  a  tottering 
fabric  ?  Have  you  also  been  converted,  and  have  you  found 
a  greater  consolation  in  contemplating  the  scapulary,  than 
in  your  former  rational  way  of  thinking  ?"  f<  Why  do  you 
let  appearances  so  often  deceive  you  ?  Is  not  the  tool  that  is 
used  by  the  mechanic  for  the  most  curious  purposes,  when 
placed  in  the  hand  of  a  child,  a  dangerous  instrument,  with 
which  it  innocently  wounds  itself?  Does  not  solid  food 
affect  the  feeble  stomach,  whilst  it  operates  not  upon  a 
strong  one  ?  And  will  not  a  child  throw  from  it  the  in- 
strument with  which  it  has  wounded  itself,  whilst  the  artist 
would  not  sell  it  for  any  price  ?  Will  not  the  person  of  a 
weak  stomach  avoid  food  that  is  disagreeable  to  it,  whilst 
the  hungry  healthy  man  enjoys  it  ?  But  I  will  argue 
otherwise.  What  is  belief,  and  what  is  disbelief  ?  Does 
not  the  Mahometan  think  that  his  belief  is  founded  upon 
principle  and  authority,  and  call  the  Christian  an  unbeliever; 
whilst  the  latter  thinks  the  same  of  him  ?  Hence,  then, 
we  may  conclude,  that  belief  depends  merely  upon  con- 
viction, the  want  of  which  is  disbelief.  —  This  is  self- 
evident." 

"  You  think,  then,  a  fundamental  belief  is  that  of  which 
we  feel  convinced,  and  also  that  men  may  entertain  different 
opinions  upon  the  same  subject,  and  yet  be  called  believers.' 
"  They  both  undoubtedly  think  that  they  are  so."  "  Is 


THE    GHOST-SEER.  151 

not  that  an  argument  against  you  ?  If  the  Prince  thinks 
that  his  belief  is  fundamental — "  "  Then  it  would  be 
difficult  to  wean  him  from  it;  but  he  does  not  think  so." 
"  And  yet  he  adheres  to  it  with  firmness,  and  defends  his 
opinion  with  the  greatest  warmth."  "  Let  me  ask  you  one 
question:  —  Does  conviction  always  carry  with  it  tranquillity 
of  mind  ?  "  f f  I  thought  that  they  were  inseparable." 

"  And  do  you  find  it  with  the  Prince?  Have  you  not 
often  told  me,  that,  when  free  from  dissipation,  he  was 
dissatisfied  with  himself?  He  is  the  child  who  is  pleased 
with  the  brightness  of  a  knife,  which  he  throws  away  as 
soon  as  he  is  hurt  by  it;  he  is  the  invalid  whose  sto- 
mach cannot  digest  heavy  food ;  who  guards  against  it  as 
soon  as  he  perceives  the  evil ;  and  then,  in  order  to  rid 
himself  as  soon  as  possible  of  his  former  disorder,  adopts 
a  lighter  diet  as  necessary.  The  Prince  thinks  that  many 
of  those  things  are  beneath  his  notice  which  men  seize 
upon  with  so  much  eagerness,  and  from  which  continual  re- 
flection and  an  unbiassed  mind  alone  can  deliver  us.  And 
I  declare  to  you,  that  in  a  short  time  he  will  believe  in 

spirits  and  apparitions.  I  do  not  know  him 1  do  not 

know  the  human  heart,  if  his  former  bigoted  ideas  of  re- 
ligion do  not  return  with  double  force.  Must  not  this 
consequence  obtrude  itself  upon  him  as  soon  as  his  expe- 
rience teaches  him  that  apparitions  do  exist ;  that  his 
present  philosophy  could  not  once  make  him  disbelieve  this, 
which  is  the  most  trifling  and  unimportant  point  that  a  man 
can  doubt  of.  Would  it  not  much  less  be  able  to  eradicate 
that  idea  from  his  mind  which  education,  custom,  and  our 
own  partiality,  have  concurred  to  proclaim  by  an  internal 
voice  ?  Will  he  not  pass  from  professed  freethinking  to  the 
contrary  extreme,  and  thank  the  man  who  leads  him  to  it  ?  " 

Biondello  was  silent,  and  appeared  perfectly  convinced. 
The  old  man  rose  slowly  from  his  arm-chair ;  Biondello 
then  told  him  something  which  I  was  not  able  to  under- 
stand distinctly  ;  but  I  learned  that  he  was  to  prepare  the 
machines  ;  for,  the  day  after  to-morrow,  there  was  to  be  a 
grand  feast. 

Well,  friend,  what  do  you  think  of  this  conversation  ? 
The  least  that  we  can  infer  from  it  is,  that  Biondello 
K  4  % 


152  THE    GHOST-SEER. 

is  concerned  in  the  plot  against  the  Prince.  Who  can 
possibly  be  that  old  man  ?  —  Is  it  not  merely  the  gas- 
conade which  is  always  peculiar  to  those  sort  of  people  ? 
because  they  by  that  method  keep  their  underlings  (of 
whom,  in  all  probability,  Biondello  is  one)  in  an  astonish- 
ing dread  of  their  power.  So  that  I  know  not  what  to 
think  of  his  making  use  of  the  — d —  for  the  execution  of 
his  plan.  And  for  what  purpose  was  this  employed  ? 
How  can  it  have  any  reference  to  the  Prince  ?  How  does 

this  all  agree  w^th ? — Ha !   I  have  a  thought — What 

if  they  intend  to  create  the  Prince  King  of ?  —  Per- 
haps this  may  be  the  intention  of  the  court  of  — d — . 
—  I  must  confess  sincerely,  that,  at  present,  all  is  a  perfect 
mystery  to  me. 

The  same  to  the  same. 

October  the  4th. 

The  Prince  is  invited  to-morrow  to  a  feast,  which  is 
given  in  St.  Benedetto,  and,  as  I  understand,  merely  on  his 
account.  His  whole  household  (except  one)  will  be  present ! 
and  who  this  one  should  be  is  a  matter  of  great  dispute. 
The  lot  will  probably  fall  to  Biondello,  because  he  has  pre- 
tended for  some  time  to  be  indisposed.  I  call  it  a  pretence, 
because,  in  my  presence,  he  does  not  appear  so,  at  least  less 
than  when  the  Prince  is  present.  He  will,  perhaps,  as  soon 
as  we  are  gone,  employ  his  time  in  the  preparation  of  the 
machines  of  which  the  old  man  spoke.  His  pretended  in- 
disposition prevents  suspicion,  and  makes  it  more  probable. 
And  may  it  not  be  possible  that  this  banquet  is  the  idea  of 
the  old  man  ?  I  shall  have  a  watchful  eye  upon  him,  and, 
if  possible,  will  remain  at  home. 

October  the  5th. 

I  know  no